Moulton police chief moves on
Sept. 7, 2012 at 4:07 a.m.
MOULTON - Mark Zimmerman has taken off his police chief's badge and pinned on a different one.
Zimmerman, who has served as police chief in Moulton three different times spanning about 25 years, has retired from that position and joined the Fayette County Sheriff's Office as a deputy.
"It was time to move on. It was just time for a change," said Zimmerman, a 1977 graduate of Yoakum High School.
"It's been great working for the city of Moulton. The city councils, the mayors and the city administrators have been great to work for. It's been a pleasure working for the citizens of Moulton," he said.
Zimmerman, who turned 54 on Aug. 28, started his law enforcement career right out of high school as a reserve deputy with the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office.
While at the Victoria Police Academy, instructor Ken Armbrister - a former Victoria Police captain who would later become a state senator - told his students that if they can work in a small town, they can work for anyone.
So Zimmerman applied for the chief's position in Moulton and was first hired in October 1980.
In 1987 and 1988, he worked as a patrolman for the Shiner Police Department before returning to Moulton as chief from 1989 to 2002.
In 2002, he again stepped down as chief, this time because he was elected Lavaca County Precinct 2 commissioner.
In August 2007, he returned as Moulton police chief.
"I've been able to work well with the people of Moulton over the years," Zimmerman said. "Help them when they need help."
And they needed help his first full year on the job.
"We had a train derailment, an airplane crash, a carnival ride accident and the farmers' co-op burned down, all in one year," he said.
One case that stands out in Zimmerman's mind was the 1983 homicide of a newborn baby.
"That was one of the hardest cases I had to work," he said. "When you go over there and see a poor, helpless baby - that really gets to a person."
Zimmerman said the suspect, the baby's mother, was convicted in the case.
"We've been fortunate we haven't had any major crimes recently," Zimmerman said, noting that criminal mischief, theft and burglaries were the main criminal activities in Moulton at present.
"Right now with the influx of oil field traffic, roughnecks and truckers, we are working a lot of traffic," he said. "And I don't think we've hit the tip of the iceberg yet. It's going to get drastically busier."
Zimmerman said he is proud of upgrades made in the Moulton Police Department in recent years, citing a new records management system, computers in patrol cars, electronic ticket writers and an updated radio system as important advances.
"I just want to thank the citizens of Moulton for giving me the opportunity to serve them. I wish the best to whoever takes over."
The city is accepting applications for police chief through the Texas Municipal League.
Moulton has one other full-time police officer, Edward Kusak, who has been with the department since April 2006 and is now the interim chief, and three reserve officers.
The city will use its current staff and peace officers from other agencies until it's fully staffed again, said city administrator Deborah Pattison.
"The city will continue to provide police service to the citizens of Moulton with no expected change in coverage," Pattison said.