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Sanger Police Chief Tyson Cheek has been on the job just over a month

At Monday night’s City Council Meeting Sanger Police Chief Tyson Cheek was publicly sworn in as the Interim Police Chief. After the last police chief left without notice amidst controversy, the city of Sanger announced Cheek as new interim chief last month

Cheek, of Millsap in Parker County, served his first day as the Sanger Police Department’s interim chief on Monday, June 6th. Cheek’s announcement followed the sudden departure of former Chief Waylan Rhodes on May 12 and the indictment of a former Sanger officer on charges related to excessive use of force.

Cheek knew of the recent events at the Police Department and is hopeful about what he can accomplish while he acts as interim.

Cheek was recommended to city staff as a candidate for interim chief by a mutual connection, he said. With almost 32 years of experience in law enforcement, Cheek has held several different ranks. Since 2013, he served as a captain in Fort Worth with noted skills in community policing, investigations, training and crime prevention, among others.

Cheek holds a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University in criminal justice and political science.

City Manager John Noblitt said the city is very excited to have Cheek help assess where the Police Department is at and where it’s headed. Cheek was sworn in Tuesday, June 6 but his public ceremonial swearing-in was held Monday, July 17th.

Chief Cheek answered questions by the Sanger News on Tuesday.

What's been the assessment from reading personnel files and getting to know the officers the last month?

I’ve really only started delving into the personnel files and to be honest most of the files on the people that are still here are pretty thin. I’ve had a chance to meet everyone, and I’m starting to get to know them. Each and every one I’ve spoken to is excited about being here and seems glad to have me here. Morale seems good in my humble opinion and I’m working to improve it even more.

How many police officers are on staff now, and how many would he like to have? (The Sanger News does realize all police departments are short-staffed).

We currently have 11 on staff, counting myself and Lt. Justin Lewis. Lt. Lewis, by the way, did an amazing job in stepping up and running things between the time the former chief left and I came aboard.

We are currently authorized at 18 positions and have six potential officers in the background process. In addition, the new budget year will bring three more positions our way.

I haven’t spoken much to the City Manager about the potential growth of Sanger, so I haven’t developed an opinion on future staffing yet, but as always, it’s better to be ahead of the surge than behind.

How did the conversations go about the officers’ concerns and about what the future of the department can look like?

Staffing is the primary concern of the officers and myself. Reduced staffing puts pressure on the other officers to work too much. Too much overtime is bad for health and family. Both are top of my list concerns for these folks. Staffing help is coming soon, though.

Beyond that, the officers and I look forward to working with city management, other city departments, and citizens to help make Sanger a safe, comfortable, and hospitable place to live and visit.

How has it been the first month on the job, and your impressions of Sanger and the department?

It’s been a learning experience. I’ve spent the past 31 years in law enforcement in the Fort Worth Police Department, and every department has its own way of doing things. There are new processes, systems, regulations, and responsibilities to learn. Each day is a new challenge. Thankfully there are good and knowledgeable people here to help me along.

Anything you would like to add?

This is an exciting opportunity for me and for the officers here. I came here with no preconceived notions of how this department should be. A great department should be great for the community it serves and reflect that community’s values where it can. As we go along, I will talk more to the officers, city management, and citizens and let them guide us as to what they want their police department to be.


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