Police Chief Barrow resigns; Council working together to do what’s best for city

Natalia Police Chief Glenn Barrow has submitted his letter of resignation to the City of Natalia this past Wednesday, May 27th. Many citizens have expressed appreciation for Barrow’s service to the community of Natalia.

Barrow began serving the city 8 months ago, and the department has undergone many changes. One of those changes included rearranging schedules and planning that now provides the city with 24-hour police coverage without any additional expense to the city. This change was instituted this past February.

“By adding 24 hour coverage in Natalia, we freed up the County deputies who had been covering Natalia in the early morning hours,” Barrow said. “I am grateful we were able to make the schedule work. The men and women of the department made the difference by stepping up.”

While many grievances were cited in the Letter of Resignation, Barrow expresses great confidence in many city leaders and wishes them well, but felt that due to conflicts, he must move on to other things.

In the letter of resignation, Chief Barrow stated, “I have employed several officers and let several go who should have been gone a long time ago.”

In an interview with Barrow, he stated, “I felt like it would be best for me to leave due to personality conflicts. I believe that there are many policies, procedures, and the way things are managed need to be reviewed. But many things were improving and the department is running great, and I know that one of the officers on staff would love to step up and continue running the department without any salary increase. I know Detective Investigator Matt Garcia would do a great job and do anything needed to make it work if they give him that opportunity.”

Barrow will soon resume a position as a Precinct 4 deputy constable in Medina County.

Monday Meeting of Natalia City Council

Natalia City Council met this past Monday, June 1 to discuss the matter, and went into a lengthy executive session lasting approximately 1 hour.

Mayor Tommy Ortiz stated in an interview, “Several things were brought up and suggested in an effort to get everything back up and functioning as far as the PD is concerned.”

“There are things that need to be looked at. One of the things we are looking at is possibly asking the Medina County Sheriff’s Office to take over patrol in Natalia.  Another idea we discussed is hiring a consulting firm that specializes in law enforcement issues to come in and look at the whole spectrum of the city and our policies. They would look at the whole picture and then make their suggestions as to what we need to do,” Mayor Ortiz stated.

“Council will decide which way to go. If we do hire a new chief, if that’s the way council wants to go, we may break down the duties into different departments like code enforcement, patrol, etc.,” Ortiz said.

“There are several things council is thinking about and looking at. When something like this happens, you try to do better with the next step. You learn from it. It’s a learning process.  We need to look at it and review things and see what’s best for the city, and we all want to take action as soon as possible. We hope to meet again in the next week or so.”

“Right now Officer Garcia is our senior officer at the PD, and what we have asked of him is to look over the schedule and let us know if there are any problems. Council left me in charge of overseeing the police department, so if any issues arise they will come directly to me,” Mayor Ortiz said.

“We are also thankful that Sheriff Brown stepped up to help right away to help with patrol without any hesitation. We really appreciate that,” Ortiz said.

Recent accomplishments and future improvements

On the subject of the resignation of Chief Barrow, Mayor Ortiz stated that “He was accomplishing our goals, and doing what we expected of him. Anything I brought up to him, he would immediately look at it and take any action to correct it. We asked him to look at several things when he came on board, and we knew that it wasn’t going to happen overnight.”

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“One of my main concerns, and one of the main concerns of residents in our city, is that we hate seeing drugs on the streets, and especially around our high school and junior high kids. Every city has drugs, and we have it too, but I’ve had so many lifelong residents of Natalia contact me recently to say that ‘the Chief is doing a great job. We don’t see nearly as many buying and selling and walking the streets like they have in the past,’ especially since Barrow implemented 24 hour coverage in the City.”

“Chief Barrow did a lot to improve our City, especially as far as drugs are concerned. Our kids are so important and we all hate to see them fall into these people’s hands. I was very pleased with what Chief Barrow accomplished here in a very short period of time,” Ortiz adds.

“Unfortunately, he had to leave for certain reasons. What I do think would make a difference going forward is better communication. I will take the blame for that. I wish I would have done more to step in and encourage communication between the needs and wants of department heads. I don’t care how intelligent you are or how good you are at your job, something is missing if communication is missing,” Mayor Ortiz said. “People will talk, but they don’t really know the whole story.”

“There are always ways to improve, always. Every day you learn. This instance has brought up some issues and things that not everyone realized or thought about. All council members gave good suggestions and we had a good discussion. We are all working together to get this resolved as soon as possible,” Mayor Ortiz adds.

Council members Chip Bluemel, Darrin Frazier, Mike Fernandez, Selica Vera, and Sam Smith accepted the resignation on a 5-0 vote, and that was the only official action that was taken at Monday’s meeting.

The council will be meeting again on Monday, June 8th with the Sheriff’s Department to discuss options.