By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Long-time Houston County law enforcement officer Clayton Smith was appointed as the Police Chief for the city of Crockett during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Crockett City Council held on Monday, March 4.

Smith had been the interim police chief since David “Buddy” Cross retired last year.

After Mayor Joni Clonts opened the meeting, she moved the conclave into a public forum where area residents Charles Holmes and Hattie Hamilton voiced their concerns about specific items pertaining to the city.

Holmes stated his objection to the selection process used to fill the vacant police chief’s position was unfair and added he felt was never given serious consideration.

Hamilton spoke next and expressed her dismay that not one elected official from the city of Crockett was in attendance at the recently held Mary Allen College Founder’s Day celebration.

Because the city council is unable to respond to matters brought forward in the public forum, the mayor moved the council session onto the next item which was an executive session to “… consider all matters related to the chief of police position.”

After approximately 30 minutes behind closed doors, the council reconvened in open session.

A motion was made and seconded to appoint Clayton Smith as the city’s next police chief. The vote was unanimous and following his appointment, City Administrator John Angerstein administered the oath of office.

Once the applause subsided, Smith requested the opportunity to say a few words.

“First of all, I’d like to thank God for guiding me through this process during the last two months and throughout my career. Without following his plan and trusting his lead, I wouldn’t be here today,” the newly sworn-in police chief said.

“To the Mayor and the Crockett City Council,” he continued, “I want to thank you for your support and the confidence you shown in me throughout this process. I will continuously strive to show to you made the correct choice.”

Smith went on to thank his family, the men and women of the Crockett Police Department, Roy Smith, Houston County Sheriff Darrell Bobbitt and District Attorney’s Investigator Randy Hargrove.

“We will go by the rule of law and while it may not always be popular, that is what we have sworn to uphold. We will be open-minded and realistic in dealing with issues and try and make decisions based on what is best for all. I will always have an open door policy, will be willing to listen to any issues and do my best to resolve them,” Smith said.

The next item also concerned the police department. The agenda item stated the council should consider the removal of one police officer’s position and to use the salary savings to provide a wage increase for the other officers. The matter was unanimously approved.

In other matters brought before the council:

  • The minutes of the Feb. 4 city council meeting were approved.
  • Police Chief Clayton Smith reported the police department received 295 calls for service during the month of February which resulted in 30 arrests. There were 501 traffic citations issued and 65 police reports filed.
  • Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell reported the fire department responded to 12 calls within the city limits and 10 calls in the county. Frizzell also reported one of the city fires involved a structure.
  • Public Works Director Jerrod Vickers provided the council with public works report for the month of February.
  • The city administrator was authorized to advertise for bids in regard to gasoline, diesel fuels, motor oils and grease.
  • The city council approved a resolution and agreement with TXDOT for the temporary closure of roadways during the Davy Crockett Arts and Music Festival.
  • A resolution designating authorized signatories for the Texas CDBG program was approved by the council.
  • Resolutions concerning the May 2019 elections were also passed by the council.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com