Police Chief Asked To Resign Or Be Fired - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/5/07-Gladewater

Police Chief Asked To Resign Or Be Fired

An East Texas Police Chief is asked to resign or face termination.  But Gladewater Police Chief Kerry Blakemore refused to resign, and now he's calling the result an injustice. 

"I did my job, I did exactly what they asked me to do," Blakemore said.

Blakemore said Tuesday morning that he was told by Gladewater City Manager Jay Stokes to resign or be fired. Blakemore chose the latter.

"I think if I resigned,  that's admitting in some way that I did something wrong.  So I let him do what he had to do," Blakemore said.

Blakemore said he was fired over a lawsuit recently filed against him by his bank over payment on a five hundred dollar personal loan. He was asked to leave that day.  This after all he did for the department, including smoothing out long-time racial tensions between Gladewater Police and the black community. 

"I did exactly what the council asked me to do.  They wanted the police department to become more professional. They wanted the officers to more approachable, and that's what I accomplished," Blakemore said.

And citizens, like Marilyn Kelley, agree.

"He was concerned about our youth and about our people in general. And that's something that we've never had.  We have never been able to walk into the police chief office and sit down and have a conversation.  That's something that he did," Kelley said.

Now Kelley just wants an answer.

"We need to know why our chief was fired," she demanded.

KLTV also asked City Manager Jay Stokes that question, but he would not go on camera nor tell me any specifics.  

Stokes did, however, release a statement:  "I am dissatisfied with the direction the police department is headed under the leadership of Chief Blakemore. And I felt the need to make a change."

But that comment doesn't sit well with Blakemore, who said Stokes is just using the lawsuit as leverage to get rid of him.

Blakemore said he's now looking for a new job, but doesn't know if he'll continue in law enforcement. He said this situation has left a bad taste in his mouth.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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