After more than 20 years of serving the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, Assistant Chief Deputy Roy Davenport was fired without warning on Wednesday.
Sheriff William Travis said he has no reason behind the firing and that he was simply using one of his “strikes” available to his top in command under the civil service contract they have.
“I don’t have to have any reason,” Travis said. “I can just fire anyone in my strike positions at any given time as I see fit.”
Davenport, who oversaw the jail’s administration, was not offered a chance to resign, the sheriff said.
Amy Phillips, director of human resources for Denton County, said the sheriff’s office civil service contract became effective in the early part of 2013.
With the new contract, all employees working at the sheriff’s office are civil service employees with the exemption of up to 10 strikes at Travis’ choosing.
Those strikes, Phillips said, do not need any explanation as to why they are fired. So far, only Davenport has been fired using the strikes, Phillips said.
Davenport, who worked his way up from being hired as an investigator in 1992 to his promotion to chief deputy in 2005, declined to comment over the recent firing.
Travis said he plans on firing no one else for now, but said he wants to keep the professionalism in the office that it is known for and will do what it takes to remain that way.
“I want to have leadership that continues to be looking forward,” Travis said Wednesday afternoon.
Additional positions that remain exempt under the new civil service laws are chief deputy, assistant chief deputy of operations, four captain positions and two lieutenant positions, county officials said.
Travis, sworn in as sheriff just over a year ago, mentioned Wednesday that he was just exercising his rights as a new sheriff and still has not fired as many people as former Sheriff Benny Parkey did.
Parkey had previously mentioned he cleaned house after being elected, adding that six or seven people retired when he was defeated by Travis in 2012.
Travis has been under investigation over allegations that he tried to bribe a political opponent to quit an election and also tried to bribe a former deputy into abandoning a lawsuit against the department since August 2013, according to a search warrant affidavit.
The Texas Rangers’ investigation of Travis became public last year after a search warrant was issued for cellphone records.
Travis’ attorney denied his client had done anything wrong.
Other bribery allegations involve a long-running lawsuit against the sheriff’s office in which former Deputy Kevin Bragg alleges wrongdoing.
Bragg, who filed suit after losing his job with the sheriff’s office, said he was a whistleblower exposing wrongdoing by deputies.
Neither man was hired by Travis.
This article contains material from The Dallas Morning News.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.