Houston TV Station Reveals Possible Legal Issues Inside One East Texas Police Department
A Houston, Texas TV Station Investigation Into Problems With The Coffee City Police Department Has Lead To Its Police Chief Being Suspended.
Ask many East Texans about Coffee City and they will tell you that the small town of just over 250 residents is one town where you're almost guaranteed to get pulled over by police there for something. Come to find out of the town's 250 residents, about 50 are sworn police officers, that's roughly a QUARTER of the town's entire population.
A recent report by Houston's KHOU 11 revealed that there's much more to the story after an investigation revealed that the police chief of Coffee City may have some legal issues and the fallout from that report is just now beginning.
The Investigation Revealed Coffee City Is A Safe Haven For Bad Cops From Other Districts.
Records show Coffee City Police Chief JohnJay Portillo quadrupled the size of the department under his tenure and routinely hired cops who had been suspended, demoted, terminated, or dishonorably discharged from previous law enforcement jobs. Their prior disciplinary actions were for a wide range of misconduct that in some cases, included criminal charges.
The Investigation Also Shared Details About Chief Portillo And His Conduct And Behavior.
According to KHOU, Portillo also was caught on police body camera video launching a profanity-filled tirade against Harris County Precinct 2 Constable Jerry Garcia while Portillo was working an extra security job at a Houston apartment complex. Portillo asked deputy constables to file charges against a man he claimed assaulted him at the complex, but Garcia said the Harris County District Attorney’s office advised his agency that off-duty Coffee City officers would have to file their own charges.
Portillo also failed to disclose an active DWI charge out of Florida on his job application to become Coffee City’s police chief which could lead to criminal charges according to state law.
The investigation also revealed how Coffee City warrant officers didn’t even work in Coffee City.
Another shocking allegation from the investigation revealed that Coffee City warrant officers stayed home in Houston, spending their time on the phone calling people with outstanding traffic warrants and collecting failure to appear fines. The warrant officers were paid for each court case cleared, but state law requires full-time officers to earn at least the federal minimum wage.
The Investigation Lead To Chief Portillo Being Suspended For 30 Days.
The city council voted to suspend Chief JohnJay Portillo for 30 days with pay pending an independent investigation last Friday, according to Coffee City attorney Ronald Stutes. The fallout also lead to Sgt. Cody Welch resigning from the department.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement said on Wednesday that the agency is conducting an investigation into the Coffee City Police Department according to CBS19 and Lt. Lonnie Hicks is in charge of the department at this time.