PALESTINE, TX – The City of Palestine has fired their police chief after two weeks of heated debate. A management done by the Texas Municipal Police Association revealed that no a single officer thought chief Robert Herbert was fit to be a leader.
The Texas Municipal Police Association said Herbert had the lowest management survey scores in a decade, following the TMPA survey of the department. 80% of the employees of the department were surveyed, they said. Noel Johnson, Lead Field Officer of the Texas Municipal Police Association said, “In over a decade that I’ve been with TMPA and we’ve done these management studies at agencies all over the state, I’ve never seen results this low.”
Now the city will have to find a new chief who can help fix the wedge this issue has driven through the community.
“They had no reason to get rid of him and that’s what I have to say,” said Kenneth Davison, the president of the Palestine NAACP.
The packed city council chamber was still divided as the community learned chief Herbert would be terminated.
“The community is basically split. You’ve got the black on one side and the white on the other side, and that’s something we didn’t want to happen,” explained Davison.
Monday night, more employees spoke up about why chief Herbert needed to go.
“He lead by fear and you cannot lead by fear,” said one civilian employee from the police department.
“This is not about black or white or blue or polka dot. This is about those officers, what they stand for and what they need,” said Phylesa Lasiter, a community member.
However, firing the chief was not the only challenge presented to the city council Monday night. Community members are demanding new leadership that can heal a hurting police department.
“There has got the be a change. This issue with our department is the lack of leadership, ethics and morals… an over abundance of ego, pride, and arrogance,” said officer Patsy Smith.
“We want you to bring a professional leader with integrity to be the Chief of Police here in Palestine,” said Noel Johnson of the Texas Municipal Police Association.
Officers and community members asked the city to research beyond resumes and find a true leader for Palestine.
Monday night, police department employees said 18 police officers had quit since chief Herbert came to Palestine in 2011. However, others say there were problems at the police department long before chief Herbert came into the picture. The city’s next hire will be their fifth police chief in eight years.