Whitehouse Police Chief resigns, points finger at Texas Municipal Police Association
WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - Craig Shelton, Police Chief for the city of Whitehouse, has resigned and accepted a job in the private sector.
Shelton was one of five City of Whitehouse employees placed on paid administrative leave following an incident that began at a home on Memory Lane on the night of May 14, and continued through the next day. Shelton was charged with assault following the incident, involving the wife of one of his police officers, according to a Smith County indictment.
Whitehouse City Attorney Keith Mayo says the initial purpose of City Manager Kevin Huckabee and Police Chief Craig Shelton leaving the police department on May 14 was to check the locks on the gates of a city-owned tower.
During the trip to the tower, Mayo says Huckabee and Shelton decided to go to the home of a wife of a Whitehouse police officer. The two men wanted to talk with the woman about her estranged husband. They wanted to make sure that she was safe. According to the indictment, that is when the chief assaulted the woman by "grabbing and pushing her."
Assault charges against Shelton were dismissed Friday, due to false testimony.
On Monday, he released the following statement to Stefani Wright, the City Secretary:
"It is with a very heavy heart that I wish to inform the Mayor, City Council, and you that, effective immediately, I am retiring from my position as Police Chief to accept a job in the private sector. During my three and one half year tenure with the City I believe I made some positive changes. We reduced budget expenditures by over $40,000.00 and converted the gun range to a superior training facility used by many surrounding agencies, to name a few. I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity to serve Whitehouse in this capacity.
I have been touched by the overwhelming support I have received from citizens of the City of Whitehouse, employees of the City and numerous others from throughout this community. I made a personal mistake for which I am very sorry but I did not commit any crime. At this time my relationship with my wife is stronger than it has ever been. I am very pleased to know that the policy violation investigation against me has been terminated.
I feel that is is the best interest of the City and my family for me to move on. This decision was made inevitable after the irresponsible, false statements from the field of representative for the Texas Municipal Police Association were widely disseminated throughout this community. I certainly understand the pressure those reckless comments put on the officials elected to represent this community. Despite my desire to continue to fight these falsities, I care too much for the City of Whitehouse and its citizens to remain in my position. I waive any employment related claims against the City and simply want to move on with my life. Whitehouse is a wonderful, growing city and I appreciate being afforded the honor of representing this community."
The City of Whitehouse Fire and Public Information Officer Chief Madison Johnson issued this statement regarding Shelton's resignation:
As of approximately 4 p.m. today, Craig Shelton submitted his letter of resignation. This resignation was accepted by Stefani Wright. I will be available tomorrow for any questions. Let's respect Mr. Shelton and his decision. His interest is the citizens of Whitehouse at heart.
Whitehouse city attorney Keith Mayo said the city's administrative investigation into the May 14 incident will very likely be dropped.
Mayo said this is due to Shelton's resignation but also the fact that the criminal charges against Shelton were dropped Friday.
"The merit to the criminal charges lied within the testimony of the victim and as many of us now know, the victim has come forward and said she wasn't completely truthful with the grand jury regarding some issues," said Mayo. "It cast a shadow on any evidence used to support those allegations."
Mayo said the decision to discontinue the investigation is not only a financial decision, but it also allows the city to heal and move forward from the negative scrutiny.
"It will allow the city to step forward and move on, hopefully in a positive direction with new leaders in some positions," Mayo said.
According to Mayo, current interim police chief Dan Finkelstein's title will change to acting police chief. Any permanent placement of a police chief can only be made by the city manager.
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