News Details Emerge in Chief's Firing

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Being a law enforcement officer in the Brazos Valley can be risky business these days.

Tuesday night, Caldwell's Chief of Police, became the latest casualty.

"The council simply voted on a general lack of confidence on the management of the department," City Administrator Billy Clemons said.

It took the Caldwell City Council nearly three hours to decide the fate of Police Chief Paul Lilly.
But in a vote of 5 to 0, Lilly's employment was terminated.

"There was no specific incident at all," Clemons said.

Lilly has had anything but a typical first few years on the job. Since being hired in April of 2007, he has responded to a plane crash on a little league field, and been involved in a high speed chase and shootout with an alleged robber.

Then just recently, Lilly and three other officers were reprimanded for responding to a call at the Caldwell High School which is outside the city limits.

A call Lilly says he wasn't even in town for. He appealed the reprimand.

However, it's what happened inside council doors, that Lilly could have never expected. He says he was asked one question by the City Council: "Why did you have to involve an attorney?" That was in reference to the reprimand.

Lilly says he still stands behind his officers, and that residents stand behind him.

Although a crowd showed up in support of the chief Tuesday night, Lilly says the group was never allowed to be heard before a vote was taken.

"The last two or three months, a lot of people come into address us about code enforcement and building permits and we anticipated a lot of people here to testify on that matter. That would have bogged down the meeting," Clemons said.

Lilly told News 3 he believes the Caldwell City Council are all good men, that were trying to do the right thing.
But Lilly says he thinks they made a decision based on passion rather than facts.

Lilly does plan to fight the decision, and is expected to hold a press conference Thursday. He adds during his last evaluation he received a "fantastic" rating, and received a $7500 raise. During the last year and a half Lilly says crime rates have dropped significantly in nearly every category.

Meanwhile, a new top cop has already been named in Lilly's absence.

Clemons says Daniel McElroy will take the reigns as the city's new police chief.

McElroy has served with the Caldwell Police Department for more than fifteen years, and was serving as the Deputy Chief under Lilly. .

At this time city officials say they will not be opening up the position, or seeking any other applications, and instead are going to place their full trust into McElroy leading the department.

McElroy released the following statement:

"As Caldwell Chief of Police, my hopes and goals for the Caldwell P.D. are to continue the programs as instituted by Paul Lilly and the Caldwell City Council, and to enforce those policies adopted by the Council. I appreciate the confidence placed in me by the City Council, and will strive to serve the citizens of Caldwell to the best of my ability.I wish the best for my friend, Paul Lilly."

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