A small south plains city is looking for an entirely new police force, after all their officers quit in a 2-week period. By the end of the year, the Sundown police force will have no staff. About 1,500 people live in the small city and usually 3 police officers help keep the peace. Now, all 3 of those officers are leaving the police force for various reasons so, the entire community is pulling together to keep the city safe.
"Basically, we had 3 police officers turn in their resignations over a week and half period," says Sundown City Administrator Barry Stephens and now, he has a hard task ahead of him. He has to hire an entirely new police force.
"She was just tired. Tired of being a law enforcement officer and she put in her resignation." Stephens says that's the reason the first patrol officer decided to quit about a week and half ago. At the time, she had no idea Chief of Police Jerry Escobar also had plans to quit. Stephens says, "We just couldn't pay him enough for what he needed to support his family. He got the opportunity for a job working in an oil field and he applied for that job." Escobar turned in his official resignation last Friday. Then. the second patrol officer and last person left on the Sundown force handed down the final blow. "The 3rd officer, it came out that even though she has done a wonderful job serving the city and she's a wonderful officer she was not going to be promoted to police chief .... so she decided her time here was up," Stephens tells us.
Now, some people are saying the Chief's resignation came after accusations he mishandled a child abuse case in Sundown and several complaints had come in that he failed to respond to certain calls around the city. There are even reports the chief was given an ultimatum, either quit or be fired, but Stephens says that information just isn't true. He says, "There have been no complaints against the chief or any of the officers and as far as I know there is no one investigating the Chief or anyone else on the force. There is no truth to those rumors."
Stephens says starting December 29th Sundown will have no one on its police force. He says there is no need to worry. The Hockley County Sheriff's office and DPS will be upping their patrol in Sundown and law enforcement will still be there within minutes if a crime happens. He tells people, "Just call 911 and get someone out there. Don't take the law into your own hands. This is not going to be like the Old Wild West just because we don't have a full-time police force. People can't just do what they want."
Sundown officials hope to have a new chief of police in place by the end of January and then that person will be in charge of hiring the new patrol officers. Until then, Stephens says Escobar and other former cops who live in Sundown will be serving as reserve officers and they're all asking citizens to keep a close eye out for one another.