SPPA, CLEAT speak out about new Chief of Police selection

March 31, 2012

Shown above are Richard Carter, Senior Attorney with The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), Charley Wilkinson, CLEAT Director of Public Affairs, Lance Richburg, Vice President of the Sweetwater Police Patrol Association (SPPA) and Sam Cunningham, President of SPPA, along with members of the SPPA. A press conference was held Friday, March 30, 2012, to address the hiring of the new Chief of Police.

Today the Sweetwater Police Patrol Association called on the Sweetwater City Council to take a stronger role in the search for a replacement of longtime Police Chief Jim Kelley.
“This city is about to choose the first new police chief in 28 years,” said Charley Wilkison, Director of Public Affairs at the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT. “It’s a big step and the local association has asked to be a part of the selection process but have been told ‘no’ by the City Manager.”
“There’s a large sense of being disregarded in some areas from city hall. And why that is, we have no idea,” said Sweetwater Police Det. Lance Richburg, who is currently the Vice President of the Sweetwater Police Patrol Association. “We want what’s best for the citizens of Sweetwater. We know this department needs to improve in areas, it needs to grow in areas and evolve. And that alone, we feel, is a reason for us to be involved in this process,” Richburg said.
“These officers have been fortunate to have a good police chief here and they are looking forward to seeing where the next administration will take the city as for his or her philosophy toward policing,” Wilkison said.
The Association made the request to be a part of the initial information gathering and preliminary process of the police chief search committee, but were told ‘no’ by Sweetwater City Manager Edward Brown.
“Of course we understand that their role would be very limited,” said Richard Carter, CLEAT Senior Staff Attorney. “We know we don’t have a vote as to the final decision, but in other cities, the police officers are allowed to participate in helping establish guidelines, professional standards, and views regarding policing.”
“Today we are asking the elected officials to step in and instruct the city manager to consult with the brave men and women of the Sweetwater Police Department and allow their voices to be heard on this issue,” said Wilkison.
“These are the people who literally lay down their lives to protect this town,” he said.
“The city manager obviously wants to make this a one man show. He is using the good old boy system to choose who he wants to hire,” said Wilkison.
“The citizens, the taxpayers, and the voters need transparency in this process. They trust their hometown heroes not bureaucrats and town bosses,” said Wilkison.
“Who in their right mind wouldn’t want input from the hardworking, highly trained, professional peace officers before choosing the next leader of the police department,” Wilkison said.
The SPPA is the only association in Sweetwater and CLEAT is the largest law enforcement organization in Texas, representing more than 18,000 rank and file law enforcement officers statewide.
Brown responded by saying, “The city of Sweetwater is a civil service city. Civil service law states that the city manager hires the police chief and the city commission ratifies the police chief. And that’s our position,” Brown stated.
He went on to say that the city is using the Police Chiefs Association to help them score and rank applications for the position. He said that the city is hoping to find a police chief to establish respect between the administration and police department, as well as with other agencies. “That’s the person we’re looking for.”

See videos below.


Good ol/ Boy? huh

April 12, 2012 by dreamweaver (not verified), 3 years 19 weeks ago
Comment: 516

Sometimes it amazes me how someone so ignorant can operate a computer. If you know these guys/gals at all, and I do, you know they've been wanting change for years. They want to e more progressive/professional and an all around better department for the community, not themselves. Only someone who looks in the mirror each morning and says, "good morning moron", would make a statement like that. The good ol boy problem is not with the PD, it's with CITY HALL!!!!!!!!! Voice up citizens, let them know we won't stand by and let them crap on our police officers without recompense.

lighten up francis, you're on

April 16, 2012 by joekerr (not verified), 3 years 19 weeks ago
Comment: 522

lighten up francis, you're on the internet, no need to get angry at random strangers you've never met before.

oh come on, we all know

April 10, 2012 by joekerr (not verified), 3 years 19 weeks ago
Comment: 511

oh come on, we all know what's really happening here, the local LEO's just don't want an outsider to come in and possibly force them to clean up their act. too much dirty stuff going on with the good ole boy network they have going on right now and they don't want it to end. if they can get one of their own in charge though, it won't have to, and that's what they want.

oh come on

April 11, 2012 by short4tx (not verified), 3 years 19 weeks ago
Comment: 515

You hit the nail right on the head joekerr.

Totally Innaccurate

April 11, 2012 by thepragmatist (not verified), 3 years 19 weeks ago
Comment: 514

Sorry joekerr, you missed the mark completely here. This is not a struggle to get one of their own promoted to Chief. It's part of an on-going struggle to persuade city management to reduce the level of animosity between management and organized labor. Yes, the Police and Fire Depts are unionized. The City refuses to cooperate with any union
activities or ideas. All they're asking for is a chance to be heard.

in response to joekerr

April 11, 2012 by johnp (not verified), 3 years 19 weeks ago
Comment: 513

Sir/maam, I also refer you to the first sentence of dreamweaver's comment from April 2. Sweetwater is a civil service city which means the first responders (fire/police) fall under "more professional" laws. Civil service was implemented to do just the opposite of your claim. It was brought about to do away with "the good ole boy network". I implore you to please get ALL the facts before giving your opinion. These police officers have brought this issue public because they have nothing to hide and want the citizens of Sweetwater to be informed. AGAIN these officer were not asking to take over in the hiring process, they were not asking for a vote, the ONLY thing they are asking for is to let the citizens of Sweetwater know what is going on. These officers ALSO want the best person for the job, however they think it should not be done behind closed doors or as they like to refer to it as "executive session"! If you wish to see the "good ole boy network" in action ask yourself why the City of Sweetwater would break a long time land contract with one citizen and lease it to another for LESS!! It happened last month.

new hire

April 5, 2012 by dreamweaver (not verified), 3 years 20 weeks ago
Comment: 509

Actually, you're right, the SPPA does have a favorite.......WHOEVER THE BEST MAN/WOMAN FOR THE JOB IS! They want what's best for Sweetwater, not who is best for Eddie Brown to control! They have no ONE favorite and you could ask any of them and they would honestly tell you their agenda was to give insight ONLY THEY have! No one else knows about the department like they do. Eddie Brown certainly doesn't. Lookit, the PD is getting screwed by this guy on so many levels it would make you dizzy if you only knew. Just sit back...watch...listen...there's a lot to learn. I support the boys in blue and am thankful for the job they do. Mr. Brown on the other hand?.....that's another story.

reply to raiderfan

April 3, 2012 by johnp (not verified), 3 years 20 weeks ago
Comment: 507

Please refer to the first sentence of dreamweaver's comment and follow their advice. They DO NOT want a vote. They DO however simply wish to be heard. I ask you, what would it hurt for the city counsel/city manager to hear what the citizens of Sweetwater/Police Officer's are looking for in a chief? That is ALL they want. A business owner, supervisor, or anyone in a position of authority would be ignorant not ASK for the advice of their employee's when he/she is hiring someone for a position in which he/she knows very little about. Obviously you do not realize the impact a police chief can have on a community and I'm sure the Police Chief's Association is in no way familiar with ours!

Chief selection

April 3, 2012 by raiderfan (not verified), 3 years 20 weeks ago
Comment: 505

Let's not kid anyone. The Patrol Officers Association has a favorite candidate in this horse race. How would it be fair to the other applicants for the chiefs position, to allow input from a group that is going to favor the home town candidate. I think the most important thing is for the city to hire the most qualified candidate. Who better to help the city manager evaluate the credentials of the applicants than other police chiefs?


April 12, 2012 by dreamweaver (not verified), 3 years 19 weeks ago
Comment: 517

The people who live and work here and have done so for years. You think retired has beens who know nothing about our community know what's best for us? Oh yeah, makes all kinds of sense. Think before you talk, the cops here want the best for Sweetwater....Eddie Brown wants what's best for HIM!

Choosing New Police Chief

April 2, 2012 by dumbodora (not verified), 3 years 21 weeks ago
Comment: 504

I think that Eddie Brown does think he is God and owns the city of Sweetwater. He does more harm for Sweetwater than good. He needs to be fired and all of the commissioners need to be voted out and the city mayor. Eddie Brown owns them all and all of them only have their best interests in mind and not the people of Sweetwater. One can voice their opinion and it does not matter. Sweetwater citizens need have more interest in how the city is operated and how their tax dollars are being spent.

voicing your opinion

April 3, 2012 by echo71 (not verified), 3 years 20 weeks ago
Comment: 506

I was just wondering dumbodora, have you every actually called a city commissioner or the mayor to discuss a matter with them or do you save it all for the coffee shop and anonymous forums.

new hires

April 2, 2012 by yourkidding (not verified), 3 years 21 weeks ago
Comment: 503

New hires always put a City Manager in a no win situation. If he hires from inside there will be cries of "Good ol'Boy" and "Brother in Law", if he hires from outside there will be cries of "What about So and So" and "Not taking care of our own". If the best aplicant is from the Sweetwater PD all parties involved in the process will see it, if not they will see that as well. New hires are not easy, and they should not be.


April 2, 2012 by dreamweaver (not verified), 3 years 21 weeks ago
Comment: 502

My dad always told me not to open my mouth if I didn't know what I was talking about and you sir, should follow the same advice. No "union hack" is asking to run anything. YOUR Police Officers were asking to be a part of this process they care so much about. Instead, YOUR city manager is hiring a bunch of retired police chiefs who don't know anything about Sweetwater to do it. Good huh? NO, it's ridiculous. Oh, and by the way, your city manager also belongs to a union (TML) and guess what, YOU and your tax dollars pay his dues. The Police Officers protecting your ignorant butt pay their own. Get on the right side and get informed before you speak next time.


April 2, 2012 by thepragmatist (not verified), 3 years 21 weeks ago
Comment: 501

What in the world would it hurt to allow the input of the SPPA? The vast majority of SPD officers are members of the SPPA. They will be most affected by new policies and proceedures implemented by the "new" Chief. Not once did I hear any officer or CLEAT official request or demand that the city manager turn over the final decision to them. Cooperation between management and staff has proven time and again to be the most productive option. Never forget....Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In response to rahntwo: I

April 2, 2012 by johnp (not verified), 3 years 21 weeks ago
Comment: 500

In response to rahntwo: I have been following this topic for a while now. I would like to start off by saying I believe it comical that the city manager is consulting with a "union hack" (by your own terminology)named the "Police Chief's Association" which I’m sure Mr. Brown has hired, but he will not ask the opinion of his own police officers because he does not "recognize them". The city manager is obviously not qualified to choose a chief of police by himself or he would not have had to search out the Police Chief's Association to do it for him. The only issue I see with that is he has perfectly qualified people in his own city to assist him. From what I have heard this is what the police officers are asking to do for him. If there is nothing wrong with the way Mr. Brown is doing this then why is it so secretive?? Why has nothing been published in the Sweetwater Reporter about it?? I believe these officers have put their jobs on the line to stand up for you and I and everyone in this city. I don't think they would have done it if nothing was wrong!! The police officers have never said they wish to "instruct" him, however they have called on the City Commissioners to take a look at what is going on and start asking questions. Mr./Mrs. rahntwo I beg you to please gather all the facts of this issue before giving your opinion. I applaud the fine men and women of the Sweetwater Police Department and am proud to have them serve in our City!!

Police Chief

March 31, 2012 by rahntwo (not verified), 3 years 21 weeks ago
Comment: 499

"instruct the city manager" Really? You think you have that right? "not bureaucrats and town bosses" I suppose some paid off union hack can make a better selection than our city government. Who do you think you are? Mr, wilskin?

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