Local police chief decides to retire after a year on the job

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MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) After a year on the job, Marlin’s chief of police has decided to retire.

Mike Pesses. (Photo by Rissa Shaw/file)

In a letter sent to Marlin Mayor John Keefer on Tuesday, Mike Pesses said his last day will be Oct. 1.

“It has been a great honor to serve the citizens of Marlin as police chief,” Pesses said.

“Many great partnerships have been formed with the community and the Marlin Police Department.”

“My hope is that these relationships will continue to flourish and continue to build trust within the community and the department.”

Pesses told KWTX Wednesday he was stepping down for family reasons.

“It is time for my wife and me to enjoy retirement which we have worked so hard to achieve,” he said. "I can assure the public, I can assure you, that there is nothing going on, this is strictly and merely our desire to go back home."

“There will always be a special place in my heart for Marlin, Texas and I will always be available for counsel and advise going forward.”

The month after retiring as a lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Pesses, who was ranked as the top candidate out of 16 applicants by a law enforcement task-force comprised of current and former chiefs in the area, was hired as Chief in Marlin in June 2017.

"In my opinion he's been an excellent police chief, I'm sad to see him leave, but I understand family is family, and I respect that he puts that first," said Marlin Mayor John Keefer. "We wish him the best, we're happy that he gave us the opportunity, it's been a pleasure to work with him, I've really enjoyed the guy."

He took the reins of a department facing many challenges.

"(It was) broken," said Pesses.

Keefer said Pesses was hired to help clean it up, and has.

"This gentleman was probably over qualified for our city, we looked at is as 'hey, it's worth the risk because if he cleans up the police department, we'll have a nice, organized, clean police department,'" said Keefer. "In my opinion, from the citizen standpoint they would probably say the same thing, we have a better appearance, we have law and order, we have good in our police department, he did a lot of stuff in the community."

"I would say it's ten times better than it was prior to Michael coming aboard."

The previous chief, Damien Eaglin, resigned in April 2017 citing a hostile work environment.

Under his command, the department was terminated from participating in Texas' Law Enforcement Support Office program after an officer was arrested for stealing guns from the department’s armory and pawning them.

Another officer was arrested by the Texas Rangers on a sexual assault charge.

Another setback came in May 2017 when city leaders put restrictions on Marlin officers regarding when they can and can’t make warrantless probable cause arrests in the city.

Eaglin took control of the department after Chief Darrell Allen was shot and killed while working a security job off-duty on Halloween night, 2015.

Pesses hopes he’s helped turn the department around.

“As chief of police I have had the opportunity to work in partnership with many great city staff members and department heads. Together we have made a positive impact on the quality of life for all Marlin residents.”

"I believe that the department is probably at a better place than its even been in its history,"

With the department's National Night Out event scheduled for Oct. 2, Pesses said he'll be sticking around until then to attend the event and help with the transition.

"I'm really happy and really confident that when I exit that the team will continue to move forward," said Pesses.

Keefer said they would be formally accepting Pesses' resignation at Tuesday night's council meeting and plan on posting the job the next day to start searching for his replacement.