Longview Police Chief Says He Will Not Resign

One week after Longview's police chief is asked to resign, he says he plans to stay and fight.

Last Tuesday members of the Fraternal Order of Police sited an increase in the crime rate, ticket quotas and budget problems as reasons they believe chief A.J. Key should go.

The allegations were made while the chief was out of state, now he's back.

Chief A.J. Key has been the police chief in Longview for nearly three years.

He says last Tuesday's demand for his resignation by members of the Fraternal Order of Police came as a shock.

Last week the president of the F.O.P., Chris Bethrard, said, "We therefore ask that the city council, the citizens of Longview and the city manager hold A.J. Key accountable for the mismanagement of the budget, his lack of personal ethics and leadership and the rampant increase of crime in our city by asking for his immediate resignation."

"I didn't know it was coming there's always the liklihood that these kinds of things would occur I heard aobut it when I was at a training conference," says Chief A.J. Key.

The Fraternal Order of Police has critized the chief for giving patrol officers what they call 'ticket quotas'.

A criticism chief Key strongly denies, "Well I think one I catagorically deny that we have a ticket quota. All we've ever asked officers to do is to enforce the law."

The Fraternal Order of Police says certain violent crimes such as rape, murder and robberies have increased to 28 percent during Key's administration.

Chief key says those numbers don't tell the complete story.

According to his statistics those crimes are simply reported more because officers are working harder at following up with reports.

"One of the things that I don't want to get lost in all of this is that the vast majority of Longview police officers come to work everyday and do a good excellent job," says Key.

Chief Key points out since he came to Longview almost every homicide has been solved as well as the arrest of a serial rapist.

He adds he helped increase wages for officers, expanded work facilities and added a domestic abuse unit.

Chief Key says despite his critics he still has more goals to accomplish in Longview.

Chief Key does not completely deny another criticism made by the Fraternal Order of Police they say the chief mismanaged a quarter of a million dollars from the department's budget.

Chief Key says the problem occurred when a column indicating certain labor cost was not included in a spread sheet.

He says the error was not discovered until recently.