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Bartonville cancels its forum on police

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Bartonville town leaders have canceled a community forum planned next week that would have discussed the future of the town’s police department.

The Town Council has few options after officials in Double Oak voted to end contract talks that would have seen their police department provide services in Bartonville.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Langford said Bartonville plans to go ahead with an independent assessment of the department provided by the Texas Police Chiefs Association. The town’s crime control and prevention district agreed to fund the study, which will cost $4,100 and take about one month to complete.

Consultants will review department records, interview personnel and observe operations, including ride-alongs, as part of the assessment. The report will include recommendations for the council’s consideration.

After the May election, the Town Council began investigating whether to abolish its police department. The town allocated about $479,000 for the department’s operations this year, and some council members had expressed concerns about rising costs.

Town leaders have ruled out a patrol contract with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office. The Argyle Police Department declined to make an offer, but Double Oak did make a preliminary offer to provide services for two years.

Bartonville’s former police chief, Dave Howell, abruptly retired July 1 and the council appointed Bobby Dowell as interim chief on July 15. Then on July 21, the Double Oak Town Council ended its police contract talks in a split vote.

In addition, during a special meeting Tuesday night, the Bartonville staff presented two budget options and step pay increases to help the council control costs and prepare for its annual budget talks.

One option to control costs would employ a chief and four officers for about $451,000, but the department would not provide 24/7 coverage. That coverage requires one additional officer and would cost the city $518,803 next year.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.