The Coleman City Council, on Wednesday night, August 7, received and accepted a comprehensive assessment report on the City of Coleman Police Department. The full report, which goes into great detail, is attached to this story in a PDF file format and can be printed if you desire.
Late Thursday afternoon, August 8, the City of Coleman released a statement from Mayor Tommy Sloan concerning the assessment. That statement is below:
The City Council of the City of Coleman Texas met in Special Session last night to receive an Operational Assessment of the Coleman Police Department. The Council had engaged the law firm of Denton, Navarro, Rocha, Bernal & Zech, who engaged Max Westbrook Consulting, a firm consisting of experienced, former law enforcement personnel, to conduct an assessment of the Coleman Police Department's polices, processes, and challenges the department may be facing. The results of the assessment were outlined to the Council and public. The report delivered by T. Daniel Santee, a Partner with Denton, Navarro, explained that the assessment involved an extended site visit to the Coleman Police Department, interviews with various stakeholders, and the review of documents, policies, and processes. The report identified immediate priorities, medium priorities, and long term priorities, all of which included recommendations for correcting deficiencies and achieving objectives identified.
In addition, Mr. Santee outlined the challenges between the City Council, City Management, and the Department with an elected police chief. He explained that Coleman is one of only two cities in Texas with an elected police chief. The City of Coleman Charter has conflicting provisions regarding the police department and elected police chief in addition to an outdated City Code that also conflicts with the Charter. He presented various options available to the City Council, and recommended a Charter Amendment Election to address these issues. The Council moved to accept the recommendations and findings of the assessment, and directed the City Manager to collaboratively work with the Police Chief in addressing the recommendations and implementing the appropriate course of action to correct any deficiencies and to achieve the objectives identified.
Mayor Tommy Sloan stated: "It is the City Council's goal to ensure that the Coleman Police Department is the best that it can be in providing law enforcement protection for the citizens of Coleman. Given the challenges to the Council and Police Department because of the conflicting provisions in the Charter, the Council felt it was the best course of action to undertake this assessment to allow the Council and the Community to better understand how the relationship between the Council, the Elected Chief and City Management is structured in our Charter, and the challenges the City faces because of this relationship and structure. Last night the Council received the answers, along with several recommendations, from our Special Counsel. The Council understands the vital importance of the Police Department to our Community, and in directing the City Manager to work with the Police Chief to implement the recommendations identified in the assessment, as is our vested authority by the Charter, we are ensuring that the findings and recommendations in - assessment will be addressed, setting the department up for success."