The Alice City Manager has been investigating a couple of letters he received by two high ranked police officers who voice their concerns and complaints against Alice Police Chief Rex Ramon.
In September, a formal complaint from SWAT Commander Lt. Jason Childers against Ramon reached the City's Human Resource Department, which was than followed by a letter written by Enrique Saenz, President of the Alice Police Officer's Association (APOA) in October.
Ramon has a law enforcement career that extends nearly three decades. In July 2015, Ramon celebrated his one-year anniversary as police chief. Before becoming chief, he had been with the department for 27 years. He started out in patrol with the Alice PD and climbed the ranks. He was a corporal, sergeant, detective and worked narcotics for 10 years.
Childers and Saenz's letter described their concerns about Ramon's leadership of the Alice PD. According to sources, complaints made against the Chief included name calling and comprised officer safety.
“The concerns which I brought forward are being investigated by Mr. Andy Joslin, and it would be inappropriate for me to make any statements until the investigation is concluded,” Childers stated. “I have full faith that Mr. Joslin is going to look carefully at the facts and circumstances, and that he will make a decision, which is in the best interest of the Alice Police Department, the City, and our citizens.”
Childers formal complaint prompted the start of an investigation at the police department. On Nov. 8, Joslin concluded reviewing all documents submitted by Childers and on Nov. 16, the city council was set to discuss the complaint in detail during executive session.
According to Joslin, he met with Childers, Saenz, Chief Ramon and other selected members of the APOA as he conducted a thorough investigation.
Saenz would not comment on his complaint, but referred the Alice Echo – News Journal to his letter.
Saenz's letter was written on an official APOA letterhead, which implied that the 36 members of the association agree with Saenz's lack of confidence with Chief Ramon's leadership.
"...it has now become a department with a black cloud hovering over it and the possibilities of it becoming worse," Saenz's letter states. ..."It was not immediate but as he (Ramon) demonstrated his favoritism and prejudice, the decay began."
Saenz's letter also mentions Childers complaint concerning his position as SWAT commander, "chaos and division between the officers," and personnel issues caused by municipal court manager JoAnn Ramon, who is Chief Ramon's wife.
A third letter, drawn up and signed by 26 active members of the APOA, was delivered to the City.
That letter was in support of Chief Ramon and those officers “do not recognize or support any comments or letters released by President Enrique Saenz on APOA letterhead that criticizes and undermines Chief Rex Ramon. Enrique Saenz has the right to express his opinion, however his opinion does not reflect the majority of the members of the APOA,” the letter stated.
“This individual wrote this three-page letter on his own and not on the behalf of the association,” APOA member said. “Personal concerns should not have been written on the association letterhead.”
According to several officers with the Alice PD, morale at the department is up and not divided as suggested in Saenz's letter.
Saenz's letter mentions a “chaotic atmosphere,” which several dozen officers who signed to support Chief Ramon, disagree.
Chief Ramon would not comment and said he wanted to wait for the completion of the investigation before speaking on the matter.
According to police officials, Childers and Saenz haven't addressed their concerns with the Chief, but instead went directly to the city.
In Saenz's letter he also claims that Court Manager JoAnn Ramon uses her title and husband as a tool “to exact her personal beliefs or vendetta's against others that cross her husband.” The letter explains that the court manager has scrutinized the Municipal Court warrants and questions the execution and filings of warrants.
According to city administration, when the Municipal Court Judge signs a warrant, officers must then serve the warrant and send back to Municipal Court to be filed. Sometimes the original warrants don't get back to the court on a timely manner because officers are unaware of the court's protocol or mishaps with paperwork, officials said.
When the Municipal Court Judge and Manager review their files, if something is missing, the manager under the judge's orders must get the job done by bringing it to the attention of those in charge.
According to Joslin, Court Manager JoAnn Ramon must follow a chain of command and notify the people in charge, whether it's the Chief or someone else with authority. Since the investigation is not complete, Joslin couldn't comment on certain details about the Municipal Court and the complaints against the Chief.
Joslin oversees approximately 240 city employees including the police department, and as one of his many duties, he investigates all complaints addressed to the city.
“If there are any corrective measures that need to be taken, not just with the Chief but in any department, they will be addressed. When I say corrective measures I mean a tool that can help officers and people succeed, not disciplinary actions,” Joslin stated. “My goal is to find a resolution where everyone is satisfied or can be satisfied as best they can be. We have great officers and very capable leaders.”