by Victor Lopez
MARFA--Despite mountains of "so-called" evidence brought against him, Marfa Police Chief J.D Wilbourn, is still on patrol.
After sitting for several hours and going over stacks of reports and complaints, the Marfa City Council got an earful from the townspeople, many who jumped up to defend their Chief and friend.
"In God's name we prevailed and the truth will always prevail," Chief Wilbourn said after the vote.
One woman called it appalling, another accused the Mayor and City Manager of conspiring against the Chief. But almost everyone agreed, losing him would have hurt the town.
According to Council member David Beebee, "Given the gravity of the situation, when you terminate a police officer, you are essentially ending his career. I know Chief Wilbourn loves being a police officer and cares deeply about the people he serves."
Three city council members voted to fire Wilbourn because they didn't have enough confidence he can do the job. But when it came to accusations involving things like corruption and intimidation, they didn't think there was enough evidence against him.
"I think City Admnistrator Mustard's case was somewhat weak, weaker than I expected. Chief Wilbourn had good answers for virtually everything that was presented," Beebee commented.
It's not exactly a secret in Marfa that the City Administrator and the Police Chief have been at odds. Chief Wilbourn is glad to have all the problems aired out in public, "I think Thursday night disclosed to the Council, as well as the citizens of Marfa, some things they certainly were not aware of, that are going on in the city administration."
Beebee agreed, "It's not all about the personal vendettas between the two of them, there is one. It's not all about that, in my opinion. There were mistakes made on both sides."
But the drama's not quite over. The Chief could still lose his job, in the end. "He will continue on but this saga is not over because we don't have the funds for the Police Department in the next budgetary cycle," Beebee explained.
For now, Wilbourn's just glad he'll still be patrolling the streets of Marfa, "I personally believe if you do your job and you do it with honesty and respect and you do it to the best of your ability, the citizens will come to your defense when you need them."
The Marfa City Council will consider the Mayor's budget proposal to dissolve the department completely on September 15th.