Would not comment on why he's leaving

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

Orange Grove Police Officer Ramon Godines Jr. turned in his letter of resignation Monday afternoon, after more than six years with the Orange Grove Police Department.

His resignation, which is effective Feb. 28, will leave the department short one officer, with two patrolmen and Police Chief Karl Van Slooten remaining on the force.

In his resignation letter, Godines gave no specific reason as to why he was leaving the department. The letter simply said "I am resigning my duties as police officer for the City of Orange Grove. My resignation will be effective on February 28, 2008." Godines would not comment further concerning his resignation when approached Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Van Slooten said Tuesday that Godines is a good officer, and that he hated to see him go.

"He's welcome back. I wish him the best," Van Slooten said.

As for the loss in manpower, Van Slooten said the department would have everything covered. He would not go into detail about the department's plans, citing security concerns.

One opportunity presented by the District Attorney's Office should help bolster the department's situation. The city recently received a memorandum of understanding from District Attorney Joe Frank Garza's office, which confirms funding for a new patrol officer for Orange Grove.

During a meeting last month between Garza and the Orange Grove City Council, both agreed to have the District Attorney's Office provide funds for a full-time police officer for the city of Orange Grove.

According to the memorandum, the annual amount to be distributed for the position will be $25,000. The funds will be distributed in quarterly transfers from the District Attorney's Forfeiture Account beginning March 1, according to the memorandum.

The advertisement for a new patrol officer has already been released. So far, several officers have taken applications from the city, with one being returned as of Tuesday, Van Slooten said.

The deadline for applications is March 1, with an oral interview board to be arranged soon afterward.

As for when the department hopes to have the new officer on the street, Van Slooten said, "We hope to get them in as soon as possible."