Temple_Only one week after a deadly shootout, the City of Temple is bidding farewell to its police department after a 3-1 vote by the city council on Monday shut down the one-man operation. The Mayor says the city is $47,000 in debt, and that's the reason for the vote. However, Police Chief David Hornbeck only earns $1,600 per month.
Former City Councilman Robert Mason was the sole dissenting vote, and he says he was so frustrated with the decision to disband the police force that he resigned from the council. He says he offered other options such as merging animal control with the police department to save money, but other members shot the ideas down.
Last week, a shootout between Temple Police and a burglary suspect turned deadly when the suspect was shot and killed, and some community members hoped it would be a blessing in disguise. They hoped that council members would realize how the police force was needed. "The three board members were saying that Chief Hornbeck was not the first one on scene," said Mason. "Of course he wasn't - it was his day off."
However, Hornbeck was the third officer on the scene after driving in from his home in Corum, which Mason says is what should be expected. But, the shootout, and Hornbeck's response to it didn't change the minds of the Mayor or council members. Hornbeck was given two weeks of administrative duties before the police department would close permanently. "I think it's atrocious that we did this man this way," said Mason.
Mason submitted his resignation immediately after the results of the vote were counted. "He's just a valuable asset," Mason said. "Not only was he a police officer, he was a first responder, so that's something we don't have in Temple [any longer]."
Temple's Mayor Joe Keaton says he feels that everything that needed to be said was done so in Monday's meeting. 7News will interview former Police Chief David Hornbeck for his side of the story on Wednesday.