By JESSIE HORTON
DUBLIN (February 1, 2017) – There’s a new top cop in Dublin – Bobby Mendez.
The Dublin City Council met in special session on Monday to discuss the hiring of an interim chief of police following the resignation of Chief Michael Jennings at the last council meeting.
Mendez, a former lieutenant with the Erath County Sheriff’s Department, was fired amid the controversy of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) investigation into the department. However, he got his start in law enforcement on the Dublin Police Department and, until the appointment as interim chief, also served on the Dublin City Council.
According to Dublin Mayor David Leatherwood, the only drawback to hiring Mendez as interim chief is losing him as a councilman.
“He (Mendez) has always been on my short list when discussing interim chief options, however, up until this point, he would never consider leaving the sheriff’s department. This time some things fell into place and he said yes,” Leatherwood said. “Bobby and his family have a home here, he’s served on the council longer than any of the other council members and he’s a great police officer, the only downside is that we’re losing a great councilman. We’re all very excited he’s accepted the interim job and know he will do an outstanding job for Dublin.”
Mendez started as interim on Wednesday and city officials said they are looking forward to seeing what he does with the department. And while Leatherwood said getting the interim job is not an automatic appointment to the permanent position, he did say Mendez is being considered for the job with several others at this time.
“We are looking to make a decision on a permanent chief within the next few months, but we want to make sure and hire someone who we believe will make the best of our police officers and the department,” the mayor said Wednesday. “We hired Bobby as interim for the next six months, or until a new chief is hired. We are sure he is going to lead the department well until we make our decision on a new chief.”
Leatherwood said the council is well aware of the TCOLE investigation involving numerous members of the Erath County Sheriff’s Office including Mendez, who was one of the first suspended by then-interim sheriff Matt Coates. That investigation has now been sent to the Attorney General’s Office for further action, according to TCOLE investigators. However, Leatherwood said the council and city administration has looked into the matter and spoken with officials involved and they are confident in hiring Mendez as the interim chief in Dublin.
“The council did some checking on the investigation when considering Bobby for the job, and all indications were that everything involving Mendez would be just fine,” the mayor said when asked about the concern expressed by some over the ongoing investigation into alleged wrongdoing in the department. “Just because there is an investigation doesn’t mean Bobby is guilty. He’s truly a great guy and believes in Dublin as strongly as those on this council. And the council and I believe in him, too!”