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Houston County Courier - Local News

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Grapeland fires Police Chief Smith
Houston County Courier

By Courier Staff
Grapeland Police Chief John Smith's 30-day suspension ended with his termination of employment Tuesday, April 10. At the end of an hourlong executive session, the Grapeland City Council voted to terminate Smith. The unanimous vote came after the council reviewed Smith's disciplinary record and documented performance problems during the executive session. Smith will receive a general discharge on his F5, category B. The general discharge means Smith was terminated after there was an incomplete explanation of the documentation reviewed by the council. Copies of the form will be hand delivered and sent by certified mail to Smith for him to sign within seven days. Once Smith signs the document, his termination will be effective. The form also will Smith due process, but Smith did not provide any explanations for the issues addressed by the council. "I'm not going to drag his name through the mud. John did some pretty nice things," Pierson said after the meeting. "But I think as we try to give him due process, I think the same problem that he's been having came up. And that's his aggression, and that's all I've got to say. Did we do the right thing? Time will tell. Did he do the right thing? No, he didn't." During the executive session, Smith spoke with the council for 20 minutes before leaving the city office. Pierson declined to comment on the issues the council addressed with Smith during that time, and said the council attempted an initial review with no results. "I do believe that the council as well as myself deserve an explanation on issues that happen within our city. I do believe that," Pierson said. Chuck Franklin, an investigator for the Grapeland Police Department, will continue to serve as acting police chief. The council will address a salary adjustment for Franklin during a specially called meeting on Thursday. Before the council went into executive session, James Smith, a resident of Anderson County who frequents Grapeland, briefly spoke about two incidents with the police chief. He said he wasn't sure if Smith needs sensitivity training or anger management, but he hopes the department and city improve. "I had two incidents with (John Smith). One was in Anderson County and was unfavorable, and I had an investigation into the conduct. And the conduct, the integrity, that is supposed to be with elected officials and law enforcement, . . . That did not happen," he said. During these comments, James Smith also said that he and his wife were ticketed for speeding in the city limits unjustly, but that he did not fight the ticket because of Chief Smith's reputation and he was unsure how the city would react. At the close of the executive session, Pierson said the council will continue trying to better the city. "We pray that the actions of the council be beneficial to our city's operations, and as we go forward trying to do what's best for all of the citizens of Grapeland."be sent to Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). Mayor George Pierson


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