FRITCH, Texas- A battle is brewing between the Fritch Police Department and the city manager over the latest changes to its police force.
Residents say their police chief has done nothing short of cleaning up the city. When they heard their chief had been stripped of his duties, concerned viewers called NewsChannel 10 for help.
News began pouring into our station earlier in the week that Chief Kirk Coker had been fired.
Records indicate Coker had been appointed Chief in August 2011.
Sources tell NewsChannel 10 he was let go after asking the city manager about the possibility of expanding the police budget.
City Manager Bobby Lamb apparently said "no," and that's when we're told Coker might have hinted he would look into the budget himself.
Coker was in Houston on April 4 and we were unable to get an on-camera interview with him.
However, we spoke with him over the phone. He wouldn't go into details regarding the altercation between him and City Manager Bobby Lamb.
However, he did confirm to NewsChannel 10 that he was never fired from the city but instead, was stripped of his duties.
"I had no administrative authority and no authority over the officers at all," he said. "I had no desk, no computer, and no office but I was still the chief of police."
This news didn't sit well with residents.
"They had no business doing that because he has done nothing but good in this town," resident Karrie Evans said. "He's stopped a lot of drug trafficking and has put his fist down."
To make matters worse, residents speculate the city hired a much less qualified candidate to take over Coker's administrative duties.
Meanwhile, residents have been circulating petitions calling for the chief to get his duties back, but that has proven to be difficult.
"They've been put out twice and someone did a clean sweep and took them off," Evans said.
We went down to city hall this afternoon to get Lamb's side of the story.
He was present when we arrived, but decided to stay in his office and send the public works director to communicate back and forth between us before we were informed he would not be providing any comment.
"The city was trying to replace our chief of police," Evans said. "There's definitely a lot of shadiness."
We're told Coker will have his desk back when he returns from his trip to Houston.