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ROPD investigator asked why findings weren’t reported directly to the city council

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Officers' training possible cause of chief's firing
KELLIE ROBINSON
The Ellis County Press
RED OAK - The investigator hired to look into the accusations of ticket quotas being set in the Red Oak police department spoke to the council about his findings at a public meeting on Monday, April 9.

Sherman Baxter was hired by council members on March 12 to conduct an investigation into the division after two councilmen raised questions about certain practices within the department.

After a week-long investigation into the department, Baxter concluded no quotas were set by former Chief Donald Fullerton and Deputy Chief Steve Anderson.

Baxter also said good supervision at lower levels kept a quota from being set in the department.

Both men were fired from the department for 'administrative style differences' but no definite reasons for the terminations were given.

Multiple members of the council questioned Baxter as to his reasons for not reporting directly to the council at the conclusion of his investigation, as they said he had been ordered to do.

Baxter met with Mayor Ron Bryce and City Manager Ken Pfeifer more than three days before the council was able to view the investigation report.

Bryce said this was done because the investigation needed to be viewed promptly and if the city council was to meet and view the report, legal postings of the meeting would become necessary and time-consuming.

The discussion became heated as Councilman Casey Hargrove continued to ask Baxter why he went against the orders of the council, as well as questioning Bryce's actions in the matter.

This culminated with Bryce pounding the desk in front of him with his fist and saying, 'Casey, I am the Mayor.'

A possible reason for the termination of Fullerton was brought to light during Baxter's questioning, when it was discovered five officers on the force had not completed their mandatory three months of field training.

One officer had only received two to three weeks of field training, but was allowed to carry a firearm and write tickets in the city.

Hargrove asked Baxter if he believed if the investigation had not happened, these officers would have continued to patrol the streets without the required training, to which Baxter replied, 'Yes.'

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