Buffalo Police Chief Shown Strong Support by Citizens and Council

The people started coming into our new Buffalo City Hall, chairs were being brought into the council chamber, citizens kept coming in the front doors, the council members took their seats, law enforcement was in place, our Mayor took his chair, and the meeting started at 6:00 PM.

The mandated public hearing concerning review and questions regarding the 2019-20 budget had no citizen feedback or discussion. The council and mayor moved forward and the Regular Council meeting was called to order.

A quorum was present with Mayor Jerrod Jones chairing the meeting.

The council members present were Travis Crowder, Glenn Hightower, and Diane Ryder.

City Secretary Debbie Waters and City Attorney Jerry Nowlin were also in attendance.

Council member Martin Housler was absent.

The Pledge of Alliance to the United States flag was led by the Mayor and First Baptist Church pastor Alan Grisham lead the overflow meeting group in prayer.

Procedures and opening comments out of the way the meeting progressed to the ?Public Comments, Recognitions, and Announcements? section of the Agenda.

Ms. Rita Evans was first on the docket and expressed her push back of the animal control ordinance stating that she ?needed to be able to keep her 30 healthy cats because they were her comfort animals.? The council stated that they would review and take her request under advisement.

Speaker number 2 was Jimmy Ezell and he started the dialogue with the real reason the townspeople had shown up for the City Council meeting ? Possible action on Police Chief Lance Pavelka.

Mr. Ezell proceeded to list every thing that he thought had been done incorrectly by the Chief and his department during the last several months. The topics covered included ?illegal citizen usage of a firearm, criminal trespass complains, little or no action on civil and personal family matters, Buffalo police working for private entities, and lack of professionalism shown by the Police Chief.? Molly Glick was introduced to the group by Mr. Ezell but she was not signed up on the agenda to speak and had no comment. The Mayor reminded Mr. Ezell there was the 5-minute time limit and he complied.

No witnesses, visual evidence, and/ or certified documents were presented by Mr. Ezell to support his statements.

Attorney, Gayle Ray was next on the Public Comments section agenda and expressed her positive support for Chief Pavelka sighting multiple accomplishments by the department.

When the 4 Jacks Pawn was burglarized the Police Chief and department quickly reacted, apprehended, and jailed the accused criminals ? public records and local news sources verified this event.

First Baptist Church ? Buffalo activities on Sundays and during special events (Pumpkin Patch and Bethlehem Experience) are monitored and policed properly on busy Hwy 79 by the department. This positive support is observed by church members on a weekly and / or seasonal basis.

The final participant in this section of the agenda was Mike Glick.

Mr. Glick stated ? ?I support our Police Chief ?and requested a ?show of hands? of the group that agreed with him. The majority of the people in attendance raised their hands.

The meeting proceeded to the Department Reports section with Lance Pavelka presenting the Police department report noting 65 calls, caution over businesses being presented bad checks, credit card abuse, and the need to control speeds on Hwy 79 with school back in session.

On a positive note the July/ August backlog in Municipal Court cases is being caught and progress is being made moving forward.

The New Business agenda items with council approval on each included:

a. Property Cleanup Enforcement

b. The sale of 2 lots owned by the city in Forest Knoll ? sealed bids

c. Purchase of 13.358 acres adjacent to city water waste water facility to expand and improve total operation

d. Final 2018- 2019 budget approval

e. 2019 ? 2020 budget with record vote

f. Resolution to Ratify Property Tax increase

g. Adoption of 2019 Property Tax Rate with record vote.

h. City Holidays for 2019 ? 2020 ? total of 12

Note ? tax rate and assessed property value will be increased equaling higher taxes for citizens without exemptions.

The Closed Session agenda item regarding action on Police Chief Lance Pavelka was now reached and Mayor Jones asked if this item should be tabled because Council Member Housler and another individual / complaint was not in attendance.

Police Chief Pavelka requested that this action by conducted in an ?Open Session? and the mayor and council approved that request.

Mayor Jones voiced his concerns about the ?police chief showing a lack of respect and lack of professionalism?, ?not having a good working relationship with the county?, ?I receive complaints on almost a daily basis?, ?I have complaints about Municipal Court errors because attachments are not included?, ?These problems need to be addressed.?

Councilman Travis Crowder strongly voiced his positive support for the Police Chief. ?We are here to serve the community ? there is no need to just hack people.? ?The Chief needs an opportunity to improve ? we need to support the police.?

Negative support was expressed by Councilwoman Diane Ryder.

Ms. Ryder stated ?I have been on the council since 2009?, ?Change is not easy,? ?People are afraid of confrontation if they come forward?, ?I get complaints from women all the time?,

?No person should be afraid of our police department ? we don?t need bullies?, ?We are playing favorites??, ?Time for a change?.

Councilman Glenn Hightower spoke next stating ?I have been in your shoes and I understand that you need the opportunity to learn what is expected in your position?. ?The Police Chief is under his 3rd mayor and needs a chance?. ?I have confidence in him and trust him with my family?.

At this point Chief Pavelka questioned Councilwoman Ryder ? ?are you afraid of me??

Ms. Ryder?s response ? ?I think you know the answer.? ?My husband is the County Judge and you should know what the outcome would be.?

After a brief pause Councilman Jerry Salazar added his positive support for the Chief.

?I have no complaints ? he responds when I call?. ?We all need to work together, our kids play together, this is not Houston or Dallas.?

Chief Pavelka responded to questions about dealing with the County, County Attorneys, and the Buffalo City Attorney.

?The County Attorney wants video and as much detail as possible on all criminal activities and arrests.? ?The County Attorney or D.A. gets the information from our officers and department and it is up to them to pursue charges and court activities at that point it is out of our hands.?

?The Buffalo city attorney has no responsibility in these matters.?

The final vote was positive support for the Police Chief expressed by 3 councilmen, 1 councilman absent and negative support expressed from 1 councilwoman.

The Mayor stated that he would supervise any improvement needed by Police Chief Lance Pavelka.

All Council Members were in agreement and pledged to move forward to improve Buffalo.

Councilman Glenn Hightower stated he was willing to listen to your ideas and / or problems.

His Cell Number ? 903-388- 8001.

Councilman Travis Crowder agreed and told the large crowd ?. ?use that same number for me.? Much needed laughter followed??.

Closing with positive notes:

a. Citizens State Bank has donated $20,000 for Harriman Park

b. The City has received a $500,00 grant for a new Pumper Truck and limited administrative fees.

c. The Buffalo Stampede set a Saturday night attendance record at the Expo.

With no additional business Mayor Jones adjourned the meeting at 7:10PM.