Cuero police chief resigns
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CUERO - Chris Hernandez has resigned as Cuero Police Chief.
Hernandez, 37, submitted his resignation Wednesday "to pursue other job opportunities," according to a news release from the city of Cuero.
Capt. Steven Ellis will be the acting chief until the position has been filled, according to the news release.
Cuero City Manager Raymie Zella said that Hernandez approached him "a few weeks ago" and indicated he wanted to get back in the field as a police officer and not have as many administrative responsibilities.
Zella isn't concerned about the transition period.
"Capt. Ellis is more than qualified to run the department while we look for a chief. He may even apply himself," Zella said.
Hernandez will remain on the city payroll through Nov. 30 because of accrued leave.
A Cuero native, Hernandez was hired as permanent chief last September after serving as interim chief since July 2008.
He began his law enforcement career with the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office as a jailer. He joined the Victoria Police Department as a patrol officer in 1999 where he worked through October 2002. He then joined the Cuero Police Department as the DARE officer and was promoted to lieutenant in 2004.
Hernandez could not be reached for comment.
The city will begin advertising the position and hopes to have it filled by the end of the year. A committee with law enforcement background will be formed to review all of the applications and assist in the interviewing process by selecting the most qualified individual, according to the news release.
Zella said current city councilman Tony Allen, a former Cuero police chief, has offered to serve on that committee.
Ellis worked as a patrol officer with the department from 2002 to 2005 when he was promoted to patrol sergeant.
Community response to the resignation was cautiously optimistic.
Glenn Moore, pastor of Lifeway Baptist Church in Cuero who been working with Hernandez on starting a chaplain's program in the police department, sees two sides to the chief's resignation.
"Anytime you have a change in a position at that level, it could bring some instability for awhile, but it also can be an opportunity," Moore said. "It can bring new blood, new life into the department. We have a chance to possibly bring in someone with experience at that position. All we can do is look on the bright side."
"Personally, I will have to start over with the new chief on discussing a chaplain's program, but hopefully the transition will be a smooth one," Moore said.
Downtown business owner Kerry Rhotenberry isn't concerned about the change.
"I didn't know Chief Hernandez personally, but everything I heard about him was positive," she said. "But I am certain that the city of Cuero under the leadership of Mayor (Sara)Meyer will do what is best for the city in filling that position with the most qualified person they can. I have no doubt about that."