Community reacts to shake-up at Freeport Police Department
Police Chief Tyrone Morrow suspended; Assistant Police Chief Steven Epperley abruptly resigns
In less than 48 hours, the city of Freeport's police chief was suspended and the assistant police chief resigned after internal complaints sparked an investigation.
According to city manager Jeff Pynes, Police Chief Tyrone Morrow was suspended with pay Monday after multiple co-workers complained about a comment allegedly made by Morrow.
Pynes declined to specify the nature of the comment, only saying the decision to suspend Chief Morrow was "best to protect all those involved."
Morrow has been police chief for nearly three years.
Another shakeup came Tuesday, when Assistant Police Chief Steven Epperley abruptly resigned. Pynes and Mayor Norma Garcia both called Epperley's resignation "a shock."
"I resigned because I felt it was the right thing to do," Epperley said. "I was very upset when I learned of the suspension of Chief Morrow. It's not right."
Chief Morrow said he agreed.
"I've done nothing wrong," Morrow declared. "What we have is some folks (who) don't like being held accountable. So they're using the process to escape that accountability measure that I have put in place."
It's a controversy that has many Freeport residents upset.
"I think it's quite disturbing," Andra Boniaby said. "It's not a good look for Freeport. I hope they get to the bottom of it. That way, no one has to be paying for someone not working."
Four years ago, Morrow, then the police chief in Bryan, Texas, was suspended for more than six months following an investigation into an alleged domestic dispute. Morrow was ultimately cleared, but it did cost taxpayers.
"I surely hope that the folks that are in charge (in Freeport) don't waste the taxpayers money again chasing frivolous issues that have no basis in fact," Morrow said.
Pynes said that he expects this investigation to only last weeks. When asked about taxpayers footing the bill, Pynes said, "It's a cost we have to bear."