Uvalde council weighs tension in police, fire departments
Police chief under fire for suspension, terminations
UVALDE - The Uvalde City Council Tuesday night addressed mounting tension in both its police and fire departments.
Dozens of volunteer firefighters and community members crowded into the council chambers, with several community members urging the council to step up support for the department.
The city and the fire department have been at odds for years, clashing on issues like overtime and the city considering the possibility of establishing a full-time fire department.
Recently, the police department sent an officer to investigate some missing equipment at the city manager’s request, which increased the existing tensions.
Councilman Patrick Williams, who is a member of the fire department, expressed his frustration to other council members.
“We feel like we’ve been dragged through the mud,” said Williams. “That’s why we’re here today. There’s no resolution. No one’s been indicted. There have been no arrests. But here we are feeling like a bunch of common thieves.”
Uvalde Mayor Cody Smith took a moment to apologize to members of the community for any harsh statements he may have made about or toward the fire department. Smith then suggested the city hire a mediator to settle the differences between the two sides.
The city council also met in executive session with Police Chief Robert MacDonald, who recently came under fire for terminating two officers and suspending two supervisors for consistent problems with police reports.
MacDonald said poorly written or incomplete reports have led to dozens of criminal cases being dismissed every year, and that all four parties who were disciplined had been warned repeatedly to improve their performance.
The council took no action on the issue Tuesday night.
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