ALICE, Texas — Alice Police Chief Aniceto Perez is under fire from members of his own department.
Disgruntled officers took their complaints to city officials using words such as “unprofessional,” “unethical,” and “inability to lead” in written statements.
More than a dozen officers signed a letter of no confidence in Perez. Those officers then hand-delivered that letter to Alice City Manager Michael Esparza.
The side of Alice PD patrol cars reads “courtesy, professionalism, respect.” The letter accuses Perez of treating the department with anything but. It said since he was named chief last June, Perez has "fostered an atmosphere of hostility, division, retaliation, and unethical behavior."
“We want to have a good department," Esparza said. "We want to have a good place for people to work. If there are concerns, we will address them.”
Esparza was surprised to read that officers felt Perez has "caused severe damage" to the city's relationship with its police officers association.
“I was thinking this was coming from the association -- it's not,” said Esparza. “It's coming from individual police officers.”
Another letter from the association's president Herman Arellano confirms this.
In part it reads: “At no time did the association meet, vote or agree to support the letter of no confidence written by an employee of the Alice Police Department.”
Officers also are concerned with the Patrol Division’s staffing levels. The letter said that under Perez, 14 officers have left the department with few replacements. Esparza said the city recently hired three new officers, and wants to hire six more.
“We want to make sure we have enough staff members for a city our size -- make sure we have enough investigators for the caseload that we have,” Esparza said.
Fourteen officers, nearly half of the department’s current active force, signed the letter. They said others didn't, fearing retaliation.
“There shouldn't be any retaliation if they put their names on here, that was clear to our police chief, also,” Esparza said. “I'm in charge of our employees, and if they put a name, if they were willing to do that, I want to listen to them.”
KRIS 6 News called and left messages for Perez several times Thursday to get his reaction to the letter. So far, he has not called back.