Burkburnett residents to vote on major decision for police

Local News

Next month, Burkburnett voters will begin early voting to decide if the police department should be put under the State Civil Service System, such as Wichita Falls and many other cities. But before going to the polls, voters may need to educate themselves on what this means.

Crystal Tipton is one of the servers at The Feed Lot Restaurant in Burkburnett. She’s been working there for about a year. She’s also a potential voter who learned about the upcoming special election from us.

“I think it’s a good change,” Tipton said.

Though there’s no change yet, Tipton is referring to if the State Civil Service System went into effect for the Burkburnett Police Department. If approved by voters, among some changes, it would include newly hired officers starting at the same salary regardless of experience. Additionally, promotions would be determined by testing and seniority only. Another change would be added costs to citizens, coming from legal fees and administrative costs if the system was implemented.

“[It] just depends on how much of a tax raise it would be. But, the officers they do do a good service for us. So, I believe they deserve it,’ Tipton said.
Most residents we spoke with didn’t want to appear on camera. But those we did speak with said this is the first time they have heard about the vote or they have heard about it but don’t know that much yet.

The information is on the city’s website.

Billy Hohstadt is a retired Fort Worth firefighter. He was at The Feed Lot celebrating his father’s 97th birthday. Though he won’t be able to vote in the upcoming election, he says the State Civil Service System is effective.

“I thought it was a benefit to the employees myself,” Hohstadt said. “No. I didn’t have any problem with the Civil Service part of it.”

As early voting starts April 22, the question remains if and when voters will do more to learn about a critical decision left up to them.

The petition for the vote was filed by the Burkburnett Police Association back in February. Texomashomepage tried to get a comment from a representative but were unable to reach them.
 We have left several messages with the city manager and police chief, but we have not heard back. 

The special election is set for May 4.   

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