CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Mike Markle was sworn back in as Corpus Christi Police Chief on Tuesday.
"I was so blessed that that door was still open," Markle said. "Thank you so much. Thank you (Corpus Christi City Manager) Peter (Zanoni). Thank you mayor. Thank you council. Thank you to my family. Thank you judge. Thank you, all of you. and hopefully this won't happen again any time soon."
Markle originally retired from the force in May to take a job in the private sector, but decided to return with the strong support of council and city leadership.
“We welcome Chief Markle back with open arms! The city is looking forward to seeing his continued progress for the Corpus Christi police department," said Mayor Paulette M. Guajardo in a press release.
It wasannounced last Mondaythat Markle would be coming out of retirement to assume his previous role. Markle retired from the CCPD in May after serving 31 years with the department, including six years as Chief.
We spoke to the mayor and city manager to get a better understanding behind the search for a new police chief.
Both Guajardo and Zanoni said the reaction to Markle’s return has been all positive. Neither of them have heard any opposition to the rehire.
“Couldn’t be happier," said Guajardo. "I’m so excited, he’s done such a wonderful job for our police department and he will be able to continue to and that makes our city 100 percent whole... I think everyone is just, they’re elated that he is coming back and coming home as I like to say.”
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive and I told him that last night," Zanoni said. "There’s been a lot of express love and gratitude across all aspects of the community. So, we know that he’s made the right decision in coming back. And we know he’ll serve the city well again in this capacity.”
Guajardo said there were around 30 applicants and a process in place to decide the new chief. She said the city was forming multiple committees to find the right person, but since Markle approached Zanoni about returning, that process never took shape.
“No money was spent on forming the committees," said Zanoni. "It would be internal staff, we were going to have some police officer front line individuals and then community panels as well. And so all that won’t be necessary now that Chief Markle has expressed an interest in coming back.”
There were questions about Markle receiving his pension while returning to work. According to the Texas Municipal Retirement System, his payments will be suspended until he re-retires. Zanoni said the city will start contributing again, should his appointment be confirmed on July 27.
“We’re a regional leader when it comes to public safety in the Coastal Bend region," said Zanoni. "And so we knew it’d be a tough transition to go from that to working for a private industry. And so, as time progressed he finally said you know what I want to come back.”
Interim chief David Blackmon has returned to his old post as assistant police chief.