Electra Turmoil Over? - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Electra Turmoil Over?

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Electra Turmoil Over?

On Tuesday Electra Commissioners voted 5-0 to end the city's contract with the Wichita County Sheriff's office. 

The city has to notify the sheriff's office 30-days before its contract is void. 

Ron Rush, an Electra resident, was weeding his yard along West Michigan Avenue Tuesday afternoon before we talked to him about the Electra Police Department patrolling the city again. 

"I believe if they try hard enough, they will be able to do a good job, but they will have to try real hard to keep up with what the sheriff's department has done," said Rush. 

Electra City Administrator Larry Pannell said he believes the department is ready to stand on its own.

"We see the light at the end of the tunnel here and we'd like to request a formal letter to the Wichita County commissioners terminating the contract for the sheriff's office," said Pannell. 

The Wichita County Sheriff's Office began patrolling in Electra in September 2013. Over the past 10 months, deputies have been working in the city 24/7 and were being paid an hourly rate, plus overtime.  

Pannell declined Newschannel 6 an on-camera interview, but gave us the total for two bills the city of Electra received from WCSO.  Pannell said they're still waiting on the others. The two bills that were given to the city average $20,000 for a two-week period.  

The first bill was from Sept. 27 - Oct. 10, totaling $20,877.19.

The second bill was from Oct. 11 - Oct. 24, totaling $19,387.79.

If you add that up over a course of 10 months, Electra could be paying the Wichita County Sheriff's office more than $200,000 for its services. 

We reached out to Wichita County Sheriff David Duke to find out the exact numbers. Sheriff Duke referred us to the Wichita County Auditor. We left a voicemail, but as of late Tuesday our calls have not been returned.

Pannell said in May the city started scaling back on the Sheriff's Office services, as newly hired Electra police officers started to take on more responsibility. He said in June they started to use Wichita County deputies on weekends only. 

So how will the new Electra Police Department look?

A fully staffed police department will consist of seven officers, including; command staff, five full-time dispatchers with one part-time, and a police chief when hired. The total amount of people in the department will be 14.

Each patrol officer will be paid nearly $15 an hour. 

Pannell said the city has begun its search for a new police chief. He said they have 12 applications. All applications have been given to the Mayor and one commissioner who are acting as a sub-committee.

Pannell said once they have narrowed down candidates all commissioners will be a part of the interviewing process. He said two of the 12 candidates are in house. He also said City Commissioners will not be making a decision about the Police Chief until sometime in late August.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6