The Driscoll City Council voted Monday to hire a new chief of police, but learned Tuesday the candidate they approved has withdrawn his application.
During a meeting Monday morning the council voted unanimously in favor of hiring Oscar Delgado Jr., a detective currently working with the San Diego Police Department, as the new chief of police. On Tuesday, however, Delgado informed the city he was withdrawing his name from consideration for the position.
"He told me he just felt his work in San Diego wasn't done yet, and you have to respect that," City Administrator Sandra Martinez said Tuesday. "He said his fellow officers and his council didn't want him to go, and that's a tribute to him."
The search for a new chief began Feb. 10, when the resignation of former Chief of Police Roy Gardner became effective. Gardner, who previously served with the Corpus Christi Police Department and the Taft Police Deaprtment, had headed the Driscoll Police Department for less than 90 days, Martinez said.
"(Gardner) said from the beginning that he was going to give us a try and we were giving him a try," Martinez said.
Delgado was a runner-up to Gardner during the hiring process three months ago, Martinez said, and was contacted by the city last week to see if he was still interested in the position. He initially indicated he was interested, which led to the city council's vote Monday.
Martinez said the city's ongoing problem to retain a chief of police is directly related to the "unique" challenges faced by the placement of Highway 77.
"We're the one city that sits right on Highway 77 and it divides our city in half," Martinez said. "Our police department is different, we don't have the crime rate that other communities do. Our emphasis is on the safety and wellbeing of our citizens (on Highway 77)."
Martinez said there are constant rumors that the turnover in the department is because of ticket quotas demanded by the city - rumors she said do not have any merit.
"I know one of the biggest concerns that officers have here is about quotas. Well, we don't have quotas here - never have and never will," Martinez said. "What we're asking our chiefs is to ask our officers to enforce the State of Texas' laws."
The department currently has three full-time officers, so Martinez said the temporary lack of a chief should not affect the safety of the citizens.
As for finding a new chief, Martinez said the council will have to start the process over from the beginning.
"I think the reason for our turnover here is that we're kind of a unique city," Martinez said. "We just wanted to make sure we looked for the right chief for our particular city."