The Palestine City Council has announced a special meeting to be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall to further address issues surrounding the Palestine Police Department and the fate of its chief Robert Herbert.
During a city council meeting on Monday, June 9, 20 individuals addressed the council (four in favor, 16 opposed) regarding Herbert's place in the department during the public comment portion of the meeting. Speakers included current peace officers, their families, citizens and legal officials from the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA).
A press release issued by the city as a “joint statement” from Mayor Therrell Thomas and City Manager Wendy Ellis on Friday, stated that the council was “overwhelmed by the amount of information that came out in comments and discussions at the meeting on Monday, June 9 and (the council) needed time to sort through everything and establish the facts in the appropriate context.”
According to the statement, “The city council, city manager, and police chief have already taken steps to address the needs and issues of our highly valued police officers.
“We have assured our officers that they are free to discuss all problems within the police department with city staff without any fear of retaliation. We will monitor that closely,” the statement read. “The police chief has assured us that he will not retaliate against any officer, and the council, mayor, and city manager have made it clear that they will not tolerate any retaliation.”
During the special meeting the council will meet in closed session “to hear what measures have been taken to help our police officers,” the statement read. “We will continue to closely monitor all actions to resolve outstanding problems.
“We will be diligent and conscientious in addressing all concerns. We will balance the needs and desires of the officers and staff with the needs and desires of the community to reach the best possible answers.”