A damning investigation into the police force in Coffee City, Texas has led to its City Council firing the Chief of Police, John Jay Portillo, and the deactivation of the entire 50-member police force. KHOU 11 news found that in the tiny town of just 250 people, more than half of its officers had been demoted, suspended, or terminated from their previous jobs in law enforcement.
The investigation uncovered an unresolved DWI charge from Florida that Portillo didn’t disclose on his application for the Coffee City Police Chief job. While the biggest complaint arose due to what local residents described as over-aggressive policing, investigative reporter for KHOU 11 News, Jeremy Rogalski uncovered that Portillo also created a warrant division employing full-time officers to run collections on unpaid tickets and weren’t required to work in the city at all.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department will now cover all calls out of Coffee City until a new chief is appointed. Officers who were part of Coffee City’s reserve officer program have all been fired and active-duty police officers are welcomed to go work someplace else or reapply when a new chief is appointed, according to KETK citing Coffee City Mayor, Jeff Blackstone.
The council reportedly removed the city’s attorney, Ron Stutes as well.
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