Combine Cops Not Fired Over Money: Councilman

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    The Combine City Council voted unanimously Saturday to let go 11 of the town's 13 police officers.

    Allegations of retaliation are flying in wake of the dismissal of nearly all the police officers in a small North Texas town.

    The Combine City Council voted unanimously Saturday to let go 11 of the town's 13 police officers.

    Questions Continue For Combine Police Force

    [DFW] Questions Continue For Combine Police Force
    The majority of the police force in Combine was fired over the weekend, but there are allegations of retaliation from the officers and the city council. (Published Monday, July 26, 2010)

    Councilman Tim Ratcliff said Monday that the council had talked about restructuring the police department for months. He said the council wants community policing rather than the tactical policing the department was trying to conduct.

    "In a big city like Dallas, you've got tactical squads, SWAT teams, all that sorts of things," Ratfliff said. "We are a small country town. We don't need any of that. If we had a situation where we needed any of that, we would call in Kaufman County or Dallas County."

    While the City Council cited a lack of funds Saturday as one of the reasons for the dismissals, Ratcliff said Monday that the budgetary issues were only part of the reason.

    Many of the officers were reserve or volunteer officers and were not paid.

    But officers said they were fired in retaliation for the department's petty crime investigation of two council members -- including Mayor Pro Tem Tonya Ratcliff.

    Tim Ratcliff, who is married to the mayor pro tem, denied having any knowledge of the investigation or the allegations.

    He said officers tried to retaliate against the council.

    "I'm told they made it known around town that they planned on going after all of us in an effort to keep us from holding our meeting on Saturday," Ratcliff said.

    The dismissed officers said they are figuring out what their next move is.

    "I feel hurt. A lot of us did this for free," said Brandon Ledbetter, who was a reserve officer that was fired.

    Several police officers are consulting with an attorney and plan to take legal action against the city.

    The Combine Police Department has been without a police chief. The City Council said it plans to hire a new chief as soon as possible.

    Combine leaders have asked the Kaufman County's Sheriff's Office to patrol the city.

    NBCDFW's Shane Allen contributed to this report.