Controversy returns to Edgewood PD after officer fired - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Controversy returns to Edgewood PD after officer fired

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EDGEWOOD, TX (KLTV) -

A specially called Edgewood City Council meeting has been canceled after controversy around the firing of a part-time police officer.

 

The streets in Edgewood are quiet, but the citizens have a lot to say, especially when it comes to the recent firing of a respected police officer.

"Most of the people who have come to me said, 'the only good officer we had was terminated.' ...The only one they've ever seen working," says city council member Steven Goode.

Goode says the council and the police chief had a disagreement over who had the authority to promote the officer to full time, then Goode says the officer was fired by the chief the next day.

"The council agreed that we would not do anything with the personnel at the time and [the termination] happened, so its overriding the council's authority," explains Goode.

However, losing a good officer isn't the only thing residents are upset about.

A local business owner who says she's too intimidated to speak openly says, "The general consensus is that people here live in fear." That business owner was nearly in tears when saying, "I live in fear for my children. We feel like we live in a lawless community at best."

Police Chief Henry Askew would not speak with KLTV on camera about the police officer being fired or any other citizen concerns.

He told us, "There's nothing to discuss..." and that the complaints are from, "..just a couple of people" and that "There are dogs barking up a tree that just isn't there."

But Goode says the complaints are there, and some elected officials aren't representing the voices of the people who elected them.

"I personally have had numerous contact from individual citizens complaining, but I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall because the actions of other council members that don't follow through and do their job as a council person,"  he says.

Goode's frustrations are similar to those of another former councilman who resigned in 2010 following more controversy surrounding the police chief. In his resignation letter, former city council member James McEnturff said, "I can no longer remain on this council, being lied to, lied about and threatened."

Tuesday, police chief Askew said, a lack of formal written complaints shows that no one has serious concerns about his department's conduct.

In 2010, the city council member who resigned said, "The complaints that have come to our attention are valid, but because those making the complaints won't file a formal complaint for fear of retaliation, no one wants to check into them."

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