City of Cuney hires new chief of police

Cuney Municipal Clerk Ashley Lewis, left, administers the oath of office to new Cuney Police Chief Allen Richardson during a city council meeting held Wednesday. Prior to taking the role of the city’s top law official, Richardson served on the force there for three years.

CUNEY – Allen D. Richardson was sworn in Wednesday as Cuney's new chief of police, following a unanimous vote of the Cuney City Council.

Following the meeting, Richardson said “we want to change the face of policing in Cuney,” describing his team as “awesome officers.”

Richardson, a native of Dallas, has been serving as acting chief for the past three weeks, moving up the ranks in the department, where he has been a full-time patrol sergeant and serving in the warrant division since July 2016.

His varied background as an educator for Dallas-area schools and as a law enforcement agent at various departments since 2013, working for the Knox County Sheriff's Department as a reserve officer; the Howard County Sheriff's Department; Cedar Valley Police Department; Coffee City Police Department as a reserve officer; and the Cisco College Police Department, where he also served as an adjunct professor.

Additionally, Richardson holds doctorates in philosophy and theology from Vision International University.

Together, this collective experience helps “give an understanding on how to handle the situation or problems with a clear mindset,” he said, adding that sharing his knowledge with coworkers – those in the office and those on the streets – can help provide “a calmness that will allow the right decisions to be made.”

The Cuney Police Department has five officers: One full-time, one part-time and the others are reserves, whose numbers Richardson is hoping to increase with additional reserve officers.

“I'm looking to bring on at least 3 more reserve officers” to cover an area he estimates is about a five-mile radius, with a goal to “step up community presence,” he explained. “We have a lot of elderly who live in Cuney, (residents) in their 90s, and we want to make sure they are seen daily.”

The chief also wants to create a police-friendly atmosphere, where his officers are establishing “a better rapport with the community and businesses,” he said. “Cuney has a value, and it's a place of great opportunity … (the council) is already doing great things for the City of Cuney, the preparation is awesome, and they are very supportive.”

Richardson's credentials also include those as: TCOLE Basic Instructor, mental health police, field training officer, PPCT Sharp and Defensive Tactics Instructor, instructor for the Department of Public Safety and NRA handgun instructor. He also is SASSI-3 and SASSI-2 certified (psychological screening instrument).

In other action, a quorum consisting of Tammy Lewis (mayor pro tem), Karen Chilton, Marshall Roberts and Elizabeth Jenkins voted unanimously on other items on the council's brief agenda. Council member Dianne Reed was not present.

Their first action was to discuss, then vote upon rules for City Hall, “so that everybody knows them, so no one misunderstands,” Lewis told the council and the handful of residents present for the meeting.

From responsibilities of care for the building, patrol cars and equipment, the newly adopted rules also specify that “Council does all the hiring and firing,” an issue that must be placed on an agenda and be presented to city leaders, and that all department promotions are decided by the council.

City employees seeking to attend classes must petition the council one month in advance, especially when using the city's name to do so, and are subject to background checks and drug testing prior to working for the city; among other employee-related subjects.

Council members also: Adopted ordinances pertaining to dogs running loose and overgrown property, and will consider other ordinances at future meetings; approved a request to allow community service workers to help with repairs and clean-up of the municipal offices, as well voted to notify residents via their September water bill of a drawing for an unused building the city wishes to divest itself of; and approved minutes of previous meetings.

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