Entire Police Department, Mayor Resign From Town in Texas
Ingram, TX – An entire police department has resigned in a Texas city. The city administration has also been shaken by several resignations.
The story begins with the Ingram City Council voting 3-2 to get rid of the position of city administrator, which was held until last Tuesday by Mark Bosma. Following this decision, Chief Byron Griffin announced his resignation, saying that police are used to a chain of command where they each have one person to answer to. In addition to the removal of the position, the council also voted to have the police chief answer to the entire council.
Chief Griffin said he now has “five bosses,” and that the city is weakening the chain without one top city administrator for all city employees to answer to. He also said the city isn’t small enough for the method to work, while supporters have said this decision will make the council and policing more “responsive” to the community’s concerns.
Councilmember Claud Jordan said that the employees would once again answer partially to the Mayor, which was the practice prior to the city administrator position’s creation in 2011. However, in Ingram, the mayor is reportedly part time, and not paid. This left the dissenting council members, the Chief of Police, and the school district’s superintendent, Superintendent Bobby Templeton, among others, to feel that a paid professional was better suited to have as part of the city administration.
Chief Griffin said on Monday during his resignation, “It’s not a (criticism of) the council, it’s just that’s not the way we operate. Being police, we’re just not used to that.”
Newly elected council members David Britton and Rocky Hawkins have formed a majority with Jordan. This change allowed the vote for the abolishment of the city administrator position to pass.
Once the Chief and City Administrator Bosma resigned, the entire department followed suit, which was comprised of a lieutenant, a sergeant, four patrol officers and a clerk.
This change also sparked Mayor Brandon Rowan’s resignation, saying the city is “headed in a direction I cannot support and will not be responsible for.”
— News 4 San Antonio (@News4SA) December 11, 2020
Another Councilmember, Shirley Trees, who is also Chief Griffin’s mother-in-law, has submitted her resignation as well. Council member John St. Clair was also opposed to getting rid of the position of city administrator.
All resignations were accepted unanimously or expected to be so in a vote by the remaining council, and those who resigned had said their last day will be January 4. Chief Griffin had agreed to stay on until at least mid-January while the city searched for a replacement Chief.
It turned out, however, that the Chief and the Mayor were able to leave much sooner. Kathy Rider, one of the officers who resigned, has been appointed as the interim Mayor in a 4-0 vote, while Carol Twiss, a former Kerr County investigator, has been appointed interim police chief in a 3-1 vote. Twiss ran for Kerr County Sheriff this year but lost. It was reported that Twiss also brought another officer with her to fill one of the vacancies.
Rider said, “We are going to fill the vacancies as quickly as possible and are being assisted by the Kerr County sheriff’s office for coverage until we are fully staffed.”
Kerr County Sheriff’s Office is helping cover calls in the city.
Meanwhile, the Ingram Independent School District is left to attempt to form its own police department with the schools now not well protected. The Board of Trustees has met to discuss what it would take to make it happen. Superintendent Templeton said, “We have in the past talked about this and tonight the board gave me marching orders, and those marching orders are to begin an exploration process and a due-diligence process for potential forming a police department at the school similar to Center Point PD or Harper PD.”
Templeton continued, “It’s somewhat common in today’s age to have an ISD PD. But again, nothing was decided in terms of are we doing it or are we not. They just directed me to begin gathering information pursuant to potentially doing it.”
The ISD has some staff on hand that is trained for active shooters, but they say it isn’t enough and they won’t have a proper police response without a full fledged department following the resignation of the Ingram police officers.
Interim Chief Twiss said she would work to make sure police were still able to respond to the schools.