In a unanimous vote Monday, city council members named Palestine Police Department Asst. Chief Mark Harcrow interim police chief. Harcrow will take the reins from Chief Andy Harvey, who, after announcing his resignation last month, will serve his last day with the department Friday.
“It's a very humbling experience,” Harcrow, 31, told the Herald-Press Monday. “When I joined the department, it was only to be a police officer. I'm happy the council and city manager have this much faith in me, and I am proud to serve.”
More than a dozen uniformed officers attended Monday's City Council meeting in support of Harcrow.
Two officers, Detective Joseph Tinsley, and Cpl. Stephan Wilson, spoke to the council on Harcrow's behalf.
“In the 11 years I've been with the department, I've seen about as many chiefs,” Tinsley said. “It's time for council to give a qualified, hometown boy a chance. It's time for Palestine to say 'yes' to Palestine.”
Wilson echoed Tinsley's sentiment.
“Several chiefs have been in and out of here,” he said. “The city needs someone who has grown with this department, and has dedicated his life and career to this city.”
Mayor Steve Presley told the Herald-Press he is proud of Harcrow, and hopes his experience with the department has provided him with the necessary insight for the job.
“It's a very big job for a young man,” Presley said. “It will require wisdom beyond his years to be a successful police chief. However, Mark [Harcrow] is a very good person, and we are proud to have him serving as our interim chief.”
Harcrow, an 11-year veteran of the department, was promoted to captain in 2017, and named asst. chief in January, after Asst. Chief Gary Rayford resigned.
City Manager Leslie Cloer told the Herald-Press she is happy to see an internal candidate get the job.
“It's always exciting when internal employees accept the challenge of higher levels of leadership,” she said.
It's still uncertain whether the city will offer Harcrow the chief's job permanently. Council members tabled the discussion of hiring of a permanent chief.
Newly appointed Chief Harcrow, however, said he'll worry about that later; for now, he has a job to do.
“It is a pleasure, and an honor to serve my home town,” he said.