Pelican Bay chief, three officers resign positions
The chief of police, one paid officer and two reserve officers resigned from the Pelican Bay police force Tuesday, barely two hours before the city council was to meet and consider the termination of the chief. Eddie Frankum, Jr., was appointed interim police chief in September 2005 after Charles Clark was let go. He will be replaced by Gilbert Towns, a former Pelican Bay reserve officer who has about 25 years of experience in fulltime law enforcement. He was a volunteer investigator for Frankum for about a year before resigning last December, he said.
Resigning along with Frankum were Mike Shelby, a paid officer, and David Hall and George VanPool, who were reserve officers – volunteers.
Remaining with the department are officer Robert Porter, whose employment was approved by council Tuesday night, and Sgt. David Sheffield.
Frankum has supporters on council, including Mayor Tom Reed, and others in the community, who have said he “cleaned up” the small, largely blue-collar town just north of Azle.
However, he has also collected a number of vocal detractors as well. There was a string of violent arrests in the first half of 2006 and numerous complaints of excessive enforcement and harassment by the deartment, although Frankum and Reed maintain that “no formal complaints” were filed with the city or the department. Last September, the city implemented an impound lot by fencing in an area behind City Hall that was formerly used by the city’s animal control department. Council approved a budget that included a large raise for Frankum, from about $26,000 to just under $60,000, and approved the impound lot so that the city would receive revenues from storage fees for cars taken from drivers without liability insurance.
The cars were being impounded and stored at lots owned by the city’s towing contractors at the time. Approving the budget and impound proposal unanimously, council members stated that the chief’s raise depended upon adequate revenues from impound fees. At the June council meeting, Frankum’s report indicated that the impound lot, in terms of earning the increased salary, was a success. He said he expected total revenues by the end of the fiscal year to be about $60,000.
“I resigned under duress,” he said Wednesday during a brief telephone interview.“I’ve never broken any city policies, I was never accused of wrongdoing. I received a perfect employment evaluation just three weeks ago.” Frankum said he and the other officers are planning a “class action suit” against the city and against an individual council member, Mayor Pro Tem Renee McWhorter, he said.