New police chief cracks down on code violations
Posted by : July 24, 2013| On :
The Monitor Correspondent
TRINIDAD–Own property that isn’t up to Trinidad city code? Expect a compliance reminder from police – from a letter up to a citation. New Police Chief James Cook aims to clean up the city.
“City code enforcement is our first priority,” Cook said of his department. “We need to get the city presentable to get people to move here, not away from here,” he added.
Cook, who started his position as chief the week of July 15 told city council members Tuesday initial efforts would focus on compliance. Code scofflaws could get a letter outlining violations as a friendly reminder, and then officers would probably allow 10 days for property owners to remediate violations before issuing citations.
“We’re still going to be polite and professional,” he told the council, “but we’re going to get it done.”
Cook, who previously served as Trinidad police chief in 2007, comes back to the department following a stint as an officer in Jasper County, located north of Beaumont near the Louisiana border. He also has been police chief in Log Cabin City, and was a member of the Athens police force.
In related action, council members approved a cash bonus to interim police chief Rick Jamison and former officer Cody Speak, who has since moved to the Malakoff Police Department. A bonus of $75 was approved for each week the two officers carried out the duties police chief while the city sought a successor to Dennis Causey, whose contract with the city was terminated in March. Speak served as acting chief for 12 weeks, while Jamison took the interim reins for 2.5 weeks. Council member Beth Parker opposed the measure, citing cost concerns and noting that “additional duties come with a job.”
The council also voted to allow the city’s street department to remove bathrooms and a concession stand from underneath the pavilion at the city park located near the high-school football field.
Mayor Larry Estes said that vandalism has been rampant, including graffiti and kicked-in doors. Subtracting the rooms under the structure would allow for an open-air canopy with fewer targets for vandals and remove places to hide, he said.
In other business, council members
• approved renewing its collections contract with the Henderson County tax assessor/collector.
• held a public hearing on the city’s water consumer confidence report, required yearly by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
During the hearing, city water plant operator Gene Burns said Trinidad’s water supply met every state standard.
In the past, cities were required to mail out the report to all water customers, but this year, state law allowed public water systems with fewer than 500 connections to post the report online and at city hall, Burns said.