Rusk police chief resigns following investigation

RUSK, Texas (KETK) - According to Rusk Interim City Manager Jim Dunaway, a recent investigation involving the city of Rusk Chief of Police Jamie Campbell has resulted in his resignation, effective October 30.

The investigation stemmed from a complaint about the chief's treatment of officers. Dunaway said the interim police chief is Russell Pancoast, a retired police chief from Bee Cave, Texas. He will start duty Thursday morning.

During his tenure at the department, controversy began when citizens claimed the former city manager, Mike Murray, retaliated against the police department. During a July city council meeting, Lieutenant Brad George said the disassociation between him and the city hall began once he started the investigation on Fire Chief Donald Lankford. Lankford went to court facing an assault by physical contact charge and was found not guilty.

"Since January, there has been a rift between the city hall and the police department and it is being blamed on me. Blame me if you've got somebody to blame for doing my job. Don't blame me for somebody else's actions," Lt. George said during the July city council meeting. 

After heavy allegations regarding felony wire-tapping were made against Murray during that July city council meeting, the council instructed the city attorney to request a Texas Rangers investigation. Murray was placed on paid leave. 

During an August city council meeting, Rusk police officer Jason Ball said "morale is about as low as it can be right now. There are issues in the PD, I think anybody can see that. It starts at the top and works its way down."

Rusk Police officer Michael Goff said to KETK in an August interview, "There is not a morale problem. There might be one or two that are disgruntled, but everybody has problems. People aren't happy because we have all these problems going on with city council members, but yet they want to address a morale problem." 

Rusk police officer Ryan Long also released a statement to KETK in August saying "Regardless what a few officers say, there is a division at the Rusk Police Department regarding this matter." He continued, "We as law enforcement have a job to do and some within the department need to quit pointing the finger at who is wrong and realize that we are all wrong by allowing personal feelings to take over and weaken our department."  

The city council appointed Interim City Manager Jim Dunaway August 16. 

In late September, the Texas Attorney General's Office concluded "there is no criminal offense to be investigated and/or prosecuted," against Mike Murray.

On October 26, KETK received a tip regarding an investigation on Police Chief Jamie Campbell. Interim City Manager Jim Dunaway confirmed there was a recent investigation following an October 12 complaint, questioning Chief Campbell's treatment of officers. 

Dunaway said Chief Campbell resigned his position with the department, effective October 30. He said there is not an investigation on any other city of Rusk employee. 

Dunaway said the interim police chief is Russell Pancoast, a retired police chief from Bee Cave, Texas. He will start duty on Thursday morning.

 

 


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