TEMPLE, Texas — The Temple Police Department has been called out for a lack of transparency in its handling of Michael Dean's case. Dean was shot and killed by a former Temple police officer in December.
6 News Reporter Cole Johnson had a one-on-one interview with Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds and asked about current policies that are in place.
Reynolds did not have a full list at the time of the interview but said the police department has to hold itself to a high standard.
Reynolds said that TPD wants to make sure situations like what happened with George Floyd don't happen again. He said the department is evaluating the '8 Can't Wait' campaign, which is a campaign designed to reduce the use of force.
Reynolds said they meet seven of the goals, but a department spokesman said in an email the eighth isn't reasonable: Exhausting all other means before shooting.
That spokesperson said in an email that the use of deadly force depends on the facts and circumstances of the situation.
When asked about increased training regarding implicit bias, race, use of force etc., Reynolds said they will consider anything that makes sense, but noted he has only been here for seven days.
"I really haven't had the time to kind of dive into many of those, but I think as we unpack this and start reviewing everything that is going on in policing both at the national level as well as the local level I think you will see a litany of things that we try to do differently to try and not only improve that relationship increase transparency also increase accountability and raise the bar where it needs to be raised," Reynolds said.
During this interview, Reynolds talked about building a relationship with the community to develop trust and communication. He acknowledged that the department has to do more than just listen. Actions need to follow.
6 News asked about the amount of public information released in cases. Reynolds said that if there are things the department can release, they ought to release it.
"There's a myriad of reasons and legislative reasons why we can't release certain pieces or components and it's important that everyone understands that we take that role and responsibility seriously," Reynolds said. "Following the law Temple PD and the City of Temple are going to follow the law in those instances but I would say, yeah, if there are areas where we can improve and make things better, we're certainly going to take every opportunity to do so."
We asked Chief Reynolds about former TPD Officer Carmen DeCruz's arrest affidavit in the Michael Dean case. He said he did not have a chance to fully review the case and he said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on it since it is a pending criminal investigation.
We asked him about the internal investigation and administrative hearing process that ended after DeCruz resigned to see if the information and results would ever be released. He said, as he understands it, no and cited Texas Local Government Code 143.
Also, we spoke about the video in Dean's case and asked after the trial is wrapped up and the case is complete, Does he think it is important for people to see the body cam, dash cam or both.
"I do. If it's legally and lawfully agreeable or okay for us to release it, than it should be released," said Reynolds.
Reynolds will also allow community members to speak directly to him and said he is willing to go anywhere to talk. It is something he plans to continue throughout his tenure with the community.