Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections director resigns

Robert Patton. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections)

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton has resigned from his role.

The Oklahoma DOC reports Patton has accepted a position in Arizona to be closer to family. Patton will resign from his role effective Jan. 31, 2016 but will go on accrued leave beginning Dec. 25.

"I appreciate the members of the board of corrections for their continued support during my time as director," Patton said. "It has been an honor to serve this agency, the state of Oklahoma and to work with the talented people who make up the department. It has also been a privilege to work with Governor Fallin and her staff on initiatives to improve corrections within the state."

Patton was hired on as director in January 2014. The resignation comes amid an on-going investigation into the Department of Correction's violation of protocol in executions.

Patton presided over the Department of Corrections during Clayton Lockett's botched execution. Patton was also director when the wrong drug was used to execute Charles Warner. The same drug was also sent to the state to be used in the execution of Richard Glossip. The execution was halted when the drug was discovered.

In a statement, Governor Mary Fallin said she appreciated Patton's efforts to keep the state prisons safe for both officers and inmates.

"I regret his departure, but I understand the importance of family and the need to be close to loved ones. I wish him well in his future endeavors." Fallin said.

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