Small Town Without Police Force

Residents and business owners in one small East Texas town must turn to the County for protection, after their city is left with no police officers.

The town of Coffee City has been without a police force since Tuesday night. Coffee City is located about 15 miles Southwest of Tyler in Henderson County.

Two weeks ago the city council voted to fire the police chief.  Since then the town's three other officers have quit. Coffee City is zoned to sell alcohol and the July 4th weekend is one of their busiest times of the year. The decision has business owners worried and the former police chief wondering why it happened in the first place.

"It started happening on May 15th," said former police chief Clifford Strickland. "A new Mayor was elected and two new city council members and it was downhill from there... then a month later I'm out of a job."

"Between Coffee City Fire Department and the Coffee City Police they kind of watch the park, patrol inside the park on busy weekends," said Doug Hansen, owner of Kilo Discount Beverage. "Without (the police) it's a huge loss for Coffee City."

Coffee City Mayor Michael Warren said he's trying to work things out for the city but would give no timetable on when the city will hire a new police chief.

In the meantime, the Henderson County Sheriff's Office and Department of Public Safety troopers will handle all calls inside the city.

Chris Gibson, reporting