Former Howe police chief reveals the reason he resigned - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

UPDATE: City of Howe names new police chief

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HOWE, TX -- The City of Howe has appointed a new police chief.

Council members interviewed two applicants Tuesday night and voted to appoint Carl Hudman to take over the position.

Howe's former police chief, John Cherry, resigned in December for health reasons.

Hudman is currently the chief of police in Tioga. His start date has not yet been determined.


EXCLUSIVE: FORMER HOWE POLICE CHIEF REVEALS THE REASON HE RESIGNED
date: 1/31/13

HOWE, TX -- Documents obtained by KTEN through a public records request detail disciplinary action taken against former Howe police chief John Cherry months before he resigned.

But he says it's not the reason he stepped down.

"The two incidents have nothing to do with each other," he said.

According to the documents, Cherry was disciplined for using his city-issued credit card for personal use.

The first transaction was for $40 on September 2, 2012. Cherry says it was to reserve a spot at a timeshare presentation for a company called Silverleaf Resorts based in Dallas.

"They just needed the credit card to prove I was going to be there," Cherry said.

The other charge for $391 posted on September 22 after Cherry attended the presentation. He says he didn't realize at the time he'd even handed over his city-issued card and when he did, he says he intended on reimbursing the money.

"We paid half with a check and half with debit," he said. "I thought I was paying with my debit card. I pulled out the wrong credit card."

But within hours of attending the presentation, Cherry says he had second thoughts about purchasing a timeshare altogether and canceled the transactions.

The money was reimbursed, but the charges still showed up on a billing statement to the city.

Howe's city administrator says he noticed the charges in early October and requested an explanation from Cherry. According to the documents, it was determined Howe violated city policy and was suspended without pay for three days.

Because you can't be disciplined twice for the same violation, the city says Cherry was not at risk of losing his job. But as a city policy, any disciplinary action taken against an officer has to be brought before city council.

The matter was scheduled to be discussed by city council in executive session on December 18. But the meeting never happened because Cherry turned in his letter of resignation before it could take place.

He says the disciplinary action had nothing to do with his decision to resign.

"Within the two months before I left I had been hospitalized twice, once for arterial blockage and once for congestive heart failure."

Cherry says worsening health issues, including congestive heart failure and three aneurysms, left him at a higher risk of getting hurt on the job.

"Potentially, somebody could hit me and the right place at the wrong time and I could die," he explained.

Facing that reality, after more than 25 years with the force, Cherry says it was in his best interest to walk away.

"My health issues, being hospitalized and being told that the issues I have I will always have it just woke me up," he said. "I want to be with my kids."

The city of Howe says it is in the process of hiring a new police chief. Interviews will be held February 5.