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2011-03-24 digital edition

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2011-03-24 / Front Page

City Council Struggles with Staffing for Police Dept.

Despite struggling with staffing, the City of Lexington is moving forward with regard to the Police Department.

The Citizens’ Advisory Committee, made up of City Council members William Langehennig and Tim Brown, along with city residents Angela Brower, Angela Stinnet and Kerry Quinney, have spent the last several weeks interviewing over 30 people, most of who are from Lexington, during a total of seven meetings. The Committee will present their recommendation in writing to the City Council in a special called meeting to be held next week, the date of which had not been set as of press time.

According to Langehennig, “A couple of people spoke in a positive way about the police department and said they were doing a good job. The rest of the people we spoke with had a complaint of some kind against the department or against an officer in the department.”

Last Thursday, March 17, the city Council met in a special session concerning Officer Fred Kelly. After a two-hour executive session, in which the city attorney was in attendance, the Council took no action.

Following that, Mayor Robert Willrich, Sr. made the recommendation that it would be in the best interest of the city of Lexington to suspend Officer Kelly, with pay starting March 21, 2011, for the duration of the Hays County Proceeding on criminal charges against him.

William Langehennig made the motion to ratify the Mayor’s recommendation. Tim Brown seconded and all five council members voted in favor to suspend Kelly with pay until the Hays County proceedings are over.

With Chief Randy Davenport’s resignation, Kelly’s suspension and one officer’s resignation effective March 31, the city of Lexington is left with one full time police officer – Jim Sherer.

The City Council addressed this problem in a special called meeting Tuesday, March 22, which unfortunately, was after press time. The agenda for that meeting included: discuss and take action on setting qualifications for applicants for the police chief; discuss how to advertise for new Chief of Police through the Texas Municipal League and other options; decide the time frame to accept applications; and discuss and take action on the staffing of the police department.

Mayor Robert Willrich, Sr. said, “ I have visited with Sheriff Rodney Meyer and requested assistance from his department if needed. He’s assured us that we will have that.”

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