By JESSICA SAVAGE
The Lufkin Daily News
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
LUFKIN — The Groveton chief of police has filed a legal petition to remove Trinity County Sheriff Jimmy Smith from public office, citing Smith's failure to meet Texas code standards.
The suit, filed by Police Chief Ralph Jester on Jan. 12, states Smith, an elected official, is in violation of the Texas Occupations Code because he is not a certified peace officer.
"Basically, the reason I did it is for the citizens of the county because if I have to maintain my qualifications, then any other peace officer should too," Jester said.
Smith was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
An elected law enforcement officer must obtain a license from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education within two years of holding public office, according to section 1701.302 of the Texas Occupations Code.
Smith took office Jan. 1, 2005.
To date, he has not passed the peace officer license exam, but has taken all required certification training courses, according to the commission, which oversees peace officer certification and licensing.
Commission records show Smith took the exam in November and December of 2006, and failed both times, according to the commission.
Applicants have three chances to pass the test within a two-year period.
"Even though Smith still has another opportunity to take the exam, his time frame is up," said a commission spokeswoman.
Authority lies within the courts to remove a public official from office, according to the commission.
Trinity County Attorney Joe Warner Bell, who prepared the petition for removal, was not immediately available for comment