My Comment On The OSBI’s Bad Publicity In 2009 – 2010, part 1

26 07 2010

During my career at the OSBI, from 1977 through 2008, never have I seen the kind of bad publicity that has happened in 2009 – 2010. As an amateur historian, I have collected information about the history of the State Crime Bureau for about 25 years. And I have had a book published, “Alive If Possible, Dead If Necessary,” which describes Oklahoma law and order history of the 1920’s. The agency was created in 1925, and I think I can state with a high degree of accuracy that the agency has never before received this level of bad publicity and this much criticism. So, I am going to take a look at this publicity and offer a few of my own comments.

2009 – 2010 HEADLINES

Here are links to some of this year’s OSBI publicity:

DA Criticizes OSBI Over Carol Daniels Inquiry

OSBI Defends It’s Handling Of Homicide Cases

OSBI Defends It’s Record Of Closing Slaying Cases

FBI, OSBI Differ On Handling Of Aja Johnson Search

Errors Lead To Firing Of OSBI DNA Analyst

Family Contends OSBI Conducted Poor Inquiry

Victim’s Families, Others Have Lost Trust In OSBI

Were Oklahoma Homicide Cases Bungled

Investigator, OSBI Disagree On Arrest Tactics

Former Investigator Accuses OSBI Of Incompetence And Fraud

Ex-Investigator Says Oklahoma Bureau Flawed

December 6, 2009

News Story

This news story concerned a homicide investigation in Anadarko in 2009 and comments made by the District Attorney. The DA was quoted as saying he was very concerned about the progress of the case.

Of greater importance was the significant damage to the investigation by the news media when it worked hard to obtain the autopsy report and then publicized the details of the injuries to the homicide victim. Before this information was publicized, it was known only to a small handful of people such as the killer, the person who discovered the victim, and law enforcement. When Jessica Brown of the OSBI tells the news media “it’s hard for us to bring someone in for questioning. The answers are all out there” she could not be more on target. One of the largest and most valuable pieces of information in the case had been made absolutely useless.

This news story also noted that the OSBI director had denied a request for an interview.

MY COMMENT: The damage to the investigation had already happened and the dispute between the news media and the OSBI/OSBI director was already in place. Therefore, a no-win situation existed for the Bureau. Granting an interview to the news media was not going to reverse anything that had already happened and was not likely to improve the situation. Because of the work that the OSBI does, it is sometimes placed in a no-win situation.

Jessica Brown almost reveals the most significant administrative detail when she tells the news media “no agent has the luxury of working solely on one case” and “an average workload for agents is between 15 and 17 cases.”

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