Jewett Police Chief Under Investigation by Texas Rangers

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

“Cheney, I'm calling you to inform you that the city council decided to take action and terminate your employment with the city.

Finding out you've been fired isn't a pleasant feeling for anyone.

"Um, you need to contact the city and make arrangements at your convenience, preferably this morning or sometime today; there's some paperwork you need to take care of.”

Finding out you've been fired over a voicemail -- Daniel Cheney says -- is even worse.

You're supposed to be held to a higher standard as an officer,” said former Jewett Patrolman, Daniel Cheney.

It's the latest controversy that's hit the tiny town of Jewett.

“I didn't see it coming; I expected them to disband it and do away with everybody, but not just do away with me,” Cheney added.

For the last three years Daniel Cheney has been one of three officers within the Jewett Police Department. In an effort to offset costs, Monday night, in a four-to-one vote, Jewett city council members voted to dissolve one of three positions within the city police department.

"He was the last officer hired, and I'm assuming that's the reason they let him go,” said Chief Marty Navarro.

But, the termination, Cheney says, comes just four months after he filed a criminal complaint against Jewett Police Chief, Marty Navarro.

On May 25th Cheney filed a formal complaint with the Texas Rangers Office claiming Navarro was engaging in illegal activities; including harassing officers if ticket quotas were not met each month; as well as selling guns that were confiscated off the streets from criminals.

"An acquaintance of mine actually tried to buy a weapon from him and once I told him it was from the evidence room, he said no and backed out of it,” said Cheney.

We contacted the acquaintance who agreed to an interview -- on the grounds of anonymity -- out of fear of retaliation.

“He said he confiscated them off of felons, different people, people discharging them in the city limits; other people he had stopped, other people other officers had stopped, so I just took it as, well, he’s the chief of police, so it was okay to buy these guns,” the man said.

Once he learned the transaction could be illegal – the man says he backed out of the deal.

Navarro denied any and all allegations against him. Furthermore, he said depending on the outcome of a case, property used in the commission of a felony that has been seized by the department could be awarded back to the department by the District Attorney.

We spoke to Jewett Mayor Becky Hughes for comment on the allegations –she stated she had no comment on the matter.

“I knew when I did it, it was the right thing and it may cause problems in the future, but it was the right thing and that's why I did it,” lamented Cheney.

For now Cheney’s attorney will seek justice as the Texas Rangers continue their investigation.

It’s unclear whether or not Cheney is protected by the “Whistleblowers Act." Whistleblowers are employees who report wrongdoing in the workplace to a superior, a law enforcement agency, a governmental agency, or the public and often take such actions at the risk of losing their jobs and careers.

In some circumstances, a whistleblower may even be legally fired for reporting a violation of the law by his or her employer and may be left without remedy or recourse. According to reports, in Texas, the Texas Legislature has reduced some whistleblower protections over the past decades in the name of tort reform. Unlike other states where whistleblower laws provide much greater protection for employees, in Texas there is a lot of “whistleblowing” that leaves a Texas employee unprotected.

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 167138145 -
Gray Television, Inc.