Liberty police chief retires following complaints
The city of Liberty is without a police chief.
In just over 30 minutes, council members deliberated a separation agreement, agreed upon it, and acted in council chambers with a unanimous, 6-0 vote to accept the retirement and separation agreement with Liberty police chief Thomas Claunch.
The succinct meeting was followed with a brief bit of information from city attorney Brandon Davis.
“After the city received the complaints, we hired an outside law firm, Olson and Olson, LLP with Brian J. Begle who performed the investigation,” Davis said.
According to Davis, Begle interviewed a number of people and at the end of the investigation, the city was presented with the findings.
“The city manager met with Chief Claunch and everybody decided it was time to part ways. The chief is retiring, and we have a separation agreement that was just approved,” Davis said.
The details of the separation agreement were not readily available, and the Liberty County News Advocate has requested the document through the Freedom of Information Act.
Davis was unwilling to disclose the reasons for the complaints, but confirmed it was not criminal in nature.
“It just turned out that this was not a good fit and it was time to move on,” he said of the relationship with Claunch and the city.
The mayor said they had appointed Gary Martin as interim chief indefinitely until council has time to accept applications for a new chief.
Davis confirmed there were two complaints filed against Claunch.
“When the city receives those complaints, we are obligated to investigate them and then make a good decision on what to do next,” he said.
Claunch was hired on Mar. 10, 2015 to head the department and his official start date was April 1, 2015.
Claunch served as assistant police chief for Webster, Texas for 11 years before coming to Liberty to take the top job.