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Lacy Lakeview city council upholds termination of former police chief Jeron Barnett

Posted: 4:31 PM, May 01, 2024
Updated: 2024-05-01 17:31:57-04
Jeron Barnett

LACY LAKEVIEW, Texas — City of Lacy Lakeview City Council members held an open executive session at the request of former Lacy Lakeview Police Chief Jeron Barnett on Tuesday night.

Barnett was terminated almost a month ago, on April 3 — he spoke to council members and the public on Tuesday to appeal his termination, and bring to light the latest allegations of a hostile work environment brought on by City Manager, Calvin Hodde.

The meeting lasted around three hours with several members of the public, City Manager Calvin Hodde, Jeron Barnett, representatives from The Combined Law Enforcement of Texas on behalf of Barnett, and even a Lacy Lakeview police officer, going in front of council to share their stories, opinions, and their perspectives on the matter.

25 News received Jeron Barnett's termination letter Tuesday and it says in part:

"Unfortunately, the necessary level of trust and cooperation has not been achieved... your ability to address critical issues within the department has lessened the trust between administrative leadership and the police department."

The letter was signed by city manager Calvin Hodde.

Barnett believes there was more to his termination.

"He was retaliating against me for exorcising my lawful right to file a hostile work environment claim," Barnett told the council during the meeting.

Barnett's hostile work allegations go beyond disputes over Barnett requesting an employment contract for job security from Hodde.

Barnett says there was an alleged "scheme" to get him fired from the police department from others within the city.

"All due to the jealousy and anger of Howell for not being selected to be chief of the police department," he said.

He says that "scheme" was laid out in an investigation done by previous city manager Keith Bond, who hired Barnett.

Barrett's employment application came under question during the meeting.

Hodde told council how he looked into Barnett's employment application following the police chief's termination.

He says Barnett's application did not include key information needed that could help determine hiring eligibility like several "write ups" from a previous law enforcement agency and even allegations of "warrant issued for theft by check" — after he read his findings to council members Hodde said, "that right there is grounds for termination".

Barnett says he did not know about these allegations and claims he's always done the right thing.

"They went back to find whatever they could find and they basically threw it up on the wall to see what sticks," Barnett said after the meeting.

"The question — why you waiting 'till after I'm terminated to go back and try to find something?"

25 News asked that same question to Hodde, who declined to do an on-camera interview, but off-camera, said he wanted to "do his due diligence."

Mayor Pro Tem Charles Wilson took those new founded claims serious.

"We didn't know it when he was fired, but we know it now," he said in the meeting.

In a six to one vote, council upheld Barnett's termination.

"I knew they were going to vote negativity for me," he said after the meeting.

"I just want the people to know that my firing was not done in lieu of me being dishonest."

We have attached Barnett's termination letter in full and a letter Barnett sent to city manager Calvin Hodde.

Below is former Chief Barnett's bio as it appears on the City of Lacy Lakeview's homepage.

Chief Jeron Barnett is a military veteran who served in active duty in the United States Army, and reserve duty in the United States Navy. His career in law enforcement began 36 years ago with the Harris County Sheriff's Office in Houston. For over three decades he has served in several different divisions, including detentions, patrol, investigations, courts, and community outreach, including serving on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Advisory Board (T.C.O.L.E.) at Prairie View A&M University. After serving as Chief of Police for the City of Prairie View, Texas. He was elected twice as County Commissioner in Waller County, Texas where he served for a total of eight years.

A graduate of the Leadership Institute Command College, he also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and several certifications in leadership and emergency management.

Chief Barnett has received several awards for military and law enforcement service, but he says one of the greatest honors received was a Congressional Award from the United States House of Representatives, where the United States Flag was flown over the White House in his honor for being "Law Enforcement Officer of the Year." He attests, “there is no greater service than service to God, Family, and Country.”

Chief Jeron Barnett — Letter of Termination:

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Letter to the City Manager from Chief Jeron Barnett:

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