BLUE MOUND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Blue Mound is looking into eliminating its city police department, a move the mayor says is related to budget concerns but that the police chief believes is personal.
Mayor Alan Hooks and Police Chief Randy Baker both admitted Thursday they have butted heads in the last eight months, with Hooks saying he has lost confidence in the chief over a matter currently being investigated.
Baker said it’s the result of two meetings Hooks held with officers, telling them they needed to add to city revenues by writing more traffic tickets. The chief said he informed the mayor he couldn’t legally institute any form of ticket writing quota.
Hooks, however, said the idea to get rid of the department is not personal, but strictly a dollars and cents issue.
Blaming new state limits on tax revenue, the city would look to contract for law enforcement services with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department.
The city council voted 3-2 this week to give Hooks the green light to move forward with getting a firm proposal from the county. He believes initial numbers show it could save the city upwards of $200,000 a year.
The final decision he said, would involve at least two public meetings and a vote of the city council.
“We have to let them have all their input that they want,” Hooks said. “And if they come up and say no we don’t want the Sheriff’s department, it ain’t happening.”
Baker said Thursday he believed it is only Hooks and a few members of the city council who were interested in possibly cutting the department.
He said Hooks had threatened to dock the pay of the six officers in the department, if their citation counts did not increase.
“We don’t get along, because I tell him when he wants to do something, it’s illegal,” Baker said.
Hooks said he had only asked about citation numbers, after noticing a significant drop-off when he and the chief had a falling out.
City council member Linda Watson, who voted against the idea, said Thursday she had only learned of the plan within the last two weeks.
While money may be part of it she said, she also believes the move is retaliatory in nature.
Calling the current department the best the city has ever had, she said a contracted law enforcement service would not have the same connection with the city.
“I think the citizens are going to unite and hopefully convince the powers that be, that our police department needs to be here,” she said.
Blue Mound is about 10 miles north of Fort Worth.