CUNEY – Local city leaders on Wednesday voted unanimously to “release (Cuney Police Chief Gregory) Sinkfield of his duties immediately,” a city employee confirmed.
Sinkfield, however, said on Friday that the decision was “mutual,” as he “retired Aug. 1 due to family (and) personnel issues.”
The former chief was not present at the emergency meeting, for which a full quorum was present, the city employee said.
The announcement came several months after Sinkfield – who had held the position for approximately three years – was arrested on separate charges by two different law enforcement agencies.
On May 4, Sinkfield was arrested by the Gregg County Sheriff's Office on two counts of tampering with government record – defraud/harm. Jail officials said that Sinkfield was only briefly in custody; no bond information was available from the Gregg County Jail.
Then, on May 29, he and two other men were arrested on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity gambling probation following a months-long investigation launched into the Cuney Sweepstakes and Game Room in late 2017 by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
A search warrant was executed at the Game Room, where approximately 150 gambling devices and approximately $19,000 in U.S. currency was seized, according to a release from the sheriff's office. Following his arrest, Sinkfield was immediately released from the Cherokee County Jail on a pre-set $7,500 bond.
According to media reports, the Cuney City Council addressed the situation during its June meeting, deciding to cut Sinkfield's status to part-time. As a result, Mayor Jesse Johnson – elected to office just the month before, in May – “stepped down in part because of the situation with the police chief,” according to the city employee.
Neither Johnson nor Mayor Pro Tem Tammy Lewis responded to requests by the Jacksonville Progress for comments as of press deadline Friday.
Sinkfield, an Atlanta, Georgia, native, said that during his tenure, his department had a maximum of 1l officers, including part-time officers and himself.
He is a veteran law enforcement officer with approximately two decades of service, having worked with the Morris Brown College police department in Atlanta and the City of Pine Lake, Georgia, before moving to Texas in 2005.
He has been a police sergeant in Lone Oak, a field training officer and investigator with the Dallas Community College District in El Centro and Richland prior to his return to Georgia in 2007 as a deputy police chief with Atlanta College. He held that position for more than two years before becoming supervisor over the criminal investigation division at Clark Atlanta University.
Sinkfield, who said he resides in Jacksonville, is now “taking care of personal issues, then from there, (it's) whatever God has planned for me.”
City officials “have someone in mind (to fill the vacancy), but have not announced it yet,” the city employee said.