Ladonia mayor says police force will return
LADONIA, Texas (KTEN) — It's the end of watch for the current Ladonia Police Department after city officials lost confidence in its chief. Fannin County deputies and neighboring departments will be left to fill the void for the time being.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Chief Howard Day announced that his agency "is no longer in service" after three years.
He noted that LPD's ranks consisted of "highly trained, non-paid VOLUNTEERS who gave their time, money and resources to build the department," which he said had operated with a $5,000 annual budget.
"To the former city leaders, city staff, FISD, and citizens that have supported our efforts over the last three years - Thank You! We wish you well!" Day wrote.
The chief's Facebook post was no longer publicly available on Tuesday. Ladonia Mayor Patricia Harrod said on Wednesday that Day had been fired. She issued this written statement:
"The decision to dismiss our former police department due to lack of confidence was not taken lightly. After a thorough investigation we came to
the realization that we were not operating fully under the law with a reserve only force. After much discussion with an attorney, it was decided to dismiss the Chief, all Officers and any Civilians reporting to him. This is only a temporary vacancy while we look to fill the position. Please continue to utilize 911 for all emergencies and 903-583-2143 for all non-emergencies."
"The mayor is the acting police chief, but she is not a law enforcement officer," said Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson. "But she can be administer of the department for a year until they put an interim in place."
That leaves law enforcement duties in this town of 752 citizens to Fannin County deputies, who typically operate two at a time patrolling more than 900 square miles."
"They'll continue to call us like they have in the past," Johnson said. "I've talked with Chief Dixon... Chief Dixon over at Honey Grove. Honey Grove is good at assisting us when we are busy. A lot of days we only have two officers on, and they know that. We are responding to calls all over the city."
The sheriff said response time of his deputies to Ladonia can average 20 minutes.
Chief Day said last year his volunteers responded to 43 calls for service and made 58 traffic stops.
"The sheriff's office has always been there for Ladonia," Johnson said. "We will always be committed to taking care of Ladonia."