TULSA - Questions about the ownership of a video surveillance system set up on private land belonging to a Rogers County Commissioner led to an exchange between that commissioner and Sheriff Scott Walton at this week's commission meeting about whether the camera was placed in violation of the law.
The item was listed on the agenda as "Discussion and possible action on resolving an inventory question involving a camera belonging to the Sheriff's Office."
That camera was found on private land, marked "no trespassing," belonging to Rogers County District 3 Commissioner Kirt Thacker near Inola.
It was reportedly a "SmartScouter" surveillance camera, capable of transmitting images wirelessly.
Commissioner Kirt Thacker asked Walton "So it was an investigation?"
Walton: "Certainly it was an investigation," Walton replied.
Thacker: "Did you have a warrant for that?"
Walton: "No sir, I don't need one. If you want to argue these legal arguments..."
At that point, Commissioner Dan DeLozier interrupts to say that "we're not going to get into that."
But Thacker went on moments later, saying "it was placed on private property where it was clearly marked 'no trespassing.'"
Walton: "There was no violation for me of any law."
Thacker: "We'll let the court figure that out."
Walton: "I hope they do."
Thacker: "Clear violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, illegal search."
Thacker went on to say there's no record of the Sheriff's Office actually purchasing the camera.
KRMG has obtained requisition/purchase orders indicating that a camera was purchased in 2010, but that order was later canceled.
Walton said it's on their inventory, though Thacker inisted it does not appear.
"I don't know where you think it come from," Walton said. "We didn't go to WalMart and boost it, so we had the camera, we put it out there, if we've got a little time to do the research on that we'll come up with whatever documentation we need for that."
Sources inside Rogers County government say the facts surrounding the possibly illegal surveillance will most likely be presented to the State Attorney General's Office for further investigation.