FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Fort Worth’s Police Chief promised transparency, but has yet to speak about the police shooting which left a 72-year-old grandfather dead.
CBS 11 News has requested to talk to Chief Jeff Halstead repeatedly but all requests have been denied.
The department is asking for patience while the investigation continues into what happened early Tuesday morning near Woodhaven Country Club in east Fort Worth.
Jerry Waller was killed in his garage by officer Richard Hoeppner, who was responding to a burglary alarm across the street that turned out to be false.
Investigators say Waller was armed with a handgun and officer Hoeppner felt threatened.
“It’s a tragic situation,” says Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “I talked to the Chief and there will be a thorough and in-depth investigation in the next report we see coming forward.”
Mayor Price admits there are a lot of unanswered questions and asks for prayers for the Waller family as well as the officer’s.
Hoeppner has been with the department for eight months and is now on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.
CBS 11 News has learned that a quarter of the department’s 1500 officers have been on the force five years or less.
Nearly a hundred officers have been there less than a year.
The Police Officers Association says they are undermanned and more officers are need to sufficiently handle the types of calls to which Hoeppner was responding.
“Absolutely we’re undermanned,” says Steve Hall President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association. “We have a need to add a sixth division to the police department, which would require us to add at least another two hundred police officers.”
Hall says it’s a funding issue. ” I think a commitment from City Hall to grow the police department at the same rate as the city’s grown, I think that’s an issue, but I don’t think there has been that commitment.”
Waller’s family has asked for an independent investigation.
His funeral is expected to be on Monday.
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