Murley takes D.A. position; Hammans up
More changes are impacting the Clinton Police Department.
Mike Murley, the department’s longtime senior detective which meant he was chief of its Investigative Division, has resigned to accept a new position with the District Attorney’s Office. The resignation was effective Thursday.
Murley also was serving as interim police chief following the retirement Nov. 5 of 12-year chief David Crabtree.
City Manager Mark Skiles announced Murley’s resignation Friday morning. Skiles said Ray Hammans, who had become the senior detective a couple of weeks ago when Murley was made interim chief, now becomes the interim chief himself in addition to his detective duties.
Murley observed his 26th anniversary Nov. 13 with the Clinton Police Department. His resignation follows not only Crabtree’s but also that of Lt. Ron McLemore on Nov. 3. McLemore had been the department’s No. 2 detective for several years until his departure.
The retirements of those three men means the CPD has lost 76 years of experience this month. And just last month Curtis Weatherly, one of its more veteran patrol officers, also departed.
Murley of course was wounded just over a year ago when he was shot three times while trying to arrest a convicted drug dealer on a warrant.
“I was actually planning on retiring at the end of 2017,” he said Friday. “I’d made the chief aware of that. When the shooting happened, I decided I’d stay until that was completely resolved. With my anniversary date being just a few days ago and the trial ending and that chapter being closed, I felt it was the right time for me to move on. The opportunity with the District Attorney’s Office became available, and it was something I felt like I would really enjoy.”
The DA’s Office is authorized one fulltime investigator. That’s the role Murley will be handling now.
“I’ll start with the first working day of December,” he said Friday. “It’s an investigator’s position. Whatever that job entails is what I’ll be doing.”
Retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Geary Weese was the D.A.’s last investigator, but he’s been gone a few months now.
“I wanted to stay with the P.D. to see that trial through,” said Murley. Of his resignation, he added, “My wife and I and our family have put a lot of thought into it.”
Besides wife Kridea who now works at Weatherford Regional Hospital, the family includes their three sons, Dakota, who’s a policeman in Edmond; Cooper, a senior at Southwestern Oklahoma State University; and Chase, a freshman at SWOSU.
The trial Murley referred to was that of Alphonso Proa-Rios, the drug dealer who shot him Dec. 7, 2017. The trial ended Nov. 2, 2018, with a jury taking only about an hour to find Proa-Rios guilty of two felonies and two misdemeanors connected to the shooting, and recommending that he be sentenced to two life sentences for the felonies and lesser terms for the misdemeanors. District Judge Doug Haught sentenced him accordingly, and because one of the felonies – assault and battery with a deadly weapon – is an 85-percent crime in Oklahoma, the 42-year-old Proa-Rios will have to serve at least 38.3 years in prison before he can even be considered for parole.
“We’re fortunate to have had Mike serve the city as long as we have,” City Manager Skiles said Friday in announcing the resignation. “We appreciate and thank him for his loyalty and dedication to the citizens of Clinton.”
Speaking of Murley’s new position at the DA’s Office, Skiles said, “He has been afforded an opportunity that speaks to his abilities and character.”
Murley said it’s a position he’s looking forward to very much.
“I never wanted to be chief of police,” he said. “I wish the future chief the best of luck and everybody else here the best of luck. I’ve had the honor to work with a lot of really good people, not just here but all across western Oklahoma.”
And he said his new job will permit him to continue doing that.
Hammans, the new interim chief, has been with the P.D. for 17½ years, 3½ as a detective. He added, “I’m pretty happy where I’m at and with what I do (before being named interim chief), but I’m a team player and that’s what we’ve got to do right now.”
With the Investigative Division down now only to Hammans, he said Lt. Luis De La Torre, who’s been a patrol officer, will become the second detective. In fact, he assumed those duties Tuesday.
“We’re going to be busy,” added Hammans, “but we’ll do what we’ve got to do.”
“He’s up for it,” added Murley. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Ray.”
Hammans’ wife, Jennifer, is a stay-at-home mom to their three children – ages 13, 10 and 2.
The new interim chief said he started his law enforcement career as a jailer in Pottawatomie County but was there only six months.
“I’m originally from Woodward, so this was a good fit,” he said of his transition to Clinton. “I’ve always loved whom I’ve worked with so I’ve never had a desire to go anywhere else.”
Of his new apparently temporary position, he said, “I’m doing it because I was asked to do it. I’m a team player. I’ll do everything I can to help the department.”
With Weatherly’s departure the middle of October combined with all the resignations at the top, Hammans said the department – which just a few months ago had filled its ranks for the first time in years – now has four slots open. Besides the chief and one detective, it’s short two patrol officers.