KCBD Investigates: LPD Officers ordered to provide security for council member’s private event

Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 9:18 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The KCBD Investigates team is looking into how the authorization of a private security detail for City Council member Latrelle Joy occurred.

The councilwoman has served District 6 since 2012 and has had a distinguished career as an attorney in the Hub City.

Questions are being raised about the inappropriate use of Lubbock Police Department resources by Joy, and whether that use violated the Lubbock City Charter.

A Lubbock Police Department memo, which states the Lubbock Police Department S.W.A.T team was quote “tasked” with providing security for councilwoman Joy’s family during a funeral service in Abilene, was one of hundreds of pages the Investigates Team received through open records requests, after multiple viewer tips about the incident which happened in August of 2020.

The Investigates Team wanted to know whether the City Charter had anything to say about this particular situation - and our team found that according to Article IX, Section 4, no councilmember “shall accept any frank, free ticket, passes, or service, or anything of value, directly or indirectly from any person, firm or corporation, upon terms more favorable than are granted to the public, and any violations of this sections shall be a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof, such office or employment shall be forfeited.

So, we posed the following question to local attorney, Michael Uryasz, “Is it lawful for the City of Lubbock to order Lubbock Police Officers to provide a security detail for a private out of town event for a city council member?”

“The city charter limits those employees from accepting services or anything of value on terms more favorable than say you or I would get,” said Uryasz.

Prompting the Investigates team to conduct a telephone interview with Councilwoman Joy.

K: “Did the Lubbock Police Department provide a personal security detail for you on a private trip out of town?”

L: “No.”

K: “Why is that a no?”

L: “Well, the way you phrased the question requires a no.”

K: “Ok, what did they provide then?”

L: “I’m not sure I can answer that question? I don’t think I can.”

K: “You are unable to say whether two LPD police officers accompanied you on a trip out of Lubbock, Texas?”

L: “They did not accompany me on a trip out of Lubbock, Texas.”

K: “Did they follow you on a trip out of Lubbock, Texas?”

L: “No.”

K: “Ok, then what can you say to the memo that we have requested, that we have, that details that they provided security for you in August of 2020.”

L: “All that I know is that when I arrived at the cemetery in Abilene, Texas, there were two officers at the cemetery.”

K: “So, you are telling me that you were not aware that these officers were going to be present at the cemetery.”

L: “That’s correct.”

K: “Ok, then my question is, do you know who provided, who authorized and provided this detail?”

L: “I don’t think that I know that. In fact, I know I don’t know that.”

K: “So, you are definitively telling me that you were aware of no plans for the Lubbock Police Department to provide you with any type of security detail regarding this specific trip?”

L: “That’s correct.”

And, sure enough, the KCBD’s open records request for Chief Floyd Mitchell’s phone logs show it was not the councilwoman, but her son who called Chief Mitchell four days before the funeral.

The Investigates team reached out to City Manager Jarrett Atkinson and asked who authorized this trip and he said it was Chief Mitchell. An interview request was submitted in order to speak with both the City Manager and the Chief and they have agreed to sit down and speak with the Investigates team.

We will continue to update this story with what is learned in that interview.

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