The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

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June 10, 2014

UPDATE: City of Palestine to take steps to work with police

PALESTINE —

The City of Palestine has yet to confirm whether or not Palestine Police Chief Robert Herbert will stay with the Palestine Police Department.

Following a slew of public comments brought before the Palestine City Council during their regular meeting Monday — four in favor, 16 opposed to the chief's position in the department — the panel went into a closed session and reconvened three hours later.

According to the meeting agenda, council members held discussion on a number of points including the “appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of the Chief of Police.”

The council reconvened to state they would publish a news release “describing the actions that the city council plans to pursue” regarding the chief's position.

Tuesday morning, the Herald-Press received an email from the city with the promised news release, stating the following:

“The chief of police and the city council heard a great deal of comment regarding the issues in the police department. There were also a large number of comments regarding the positive steps the chief and the department have made to improve community relations.

“The city council and the city manager will take immediate steps to work with the chief of police, and the line officers, to improve operation of the police department and to develop an improvement plan to address the specific issues facing the department.”

In a subsequent interview with the Herald-Press on Tuesday, City Manager Wendy Ellis reiterated the council's statement.

“There was an official statement released earlier this morning from the city council,” Ellis said. “Now, at this time, that's the only official statement about this, because it is considered a personnel matter, and there are laws and issues we have to address in dealing with a personnel matter. So beyond that official statement at this point, I don't have any other information that I can provide.”

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