Edna Councilman Named Police Chief
By John Meng, Managing Editor The City of Edna has finalized its three-month-long search for a new police chief, and the right man for the job turned out to be under the council’s proverbial noses the entire time. Last week, Edna District 3 Councilman Rick Boone resigned from his council position and was hired as Edna’s new police chief, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
“I handed in one hat and picked up another,” said Boone, who had served on the council for three years.
“I have really enjoyed serving on the city council,” he added. “It was a great experience hiring a new city manager, being able to pick and layout all the things we wanted to do in town.
“One of my focuses was on drainage. We hadn’t touched ditches here in Edna in probably six to eight years. Gary (city manager) jumped right on it. These past three years have definitely been a great experience. It was more than I ever expected,” he said.
According to Boone, who works as Chief Deputy at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and who has been employed at the Sheriff’s Office for 26 years, the police chief position was never really on his radar. As a councilman, he was selected to be on the interview board which consisted of six police chiefs from nearby jurisdictions – Hallettsville, Flatonia, Wharton, Luling, Shiner, and Schulenburg.
The committee, along with Edna City Manager Gary Broz, went through the review process and background checks on the applicants. The city received 15 applications and the minimum qualifications whittled down that number to seven. After those seven were interviewed, the committee trimmed the list to one candidate from Waxahachie, Texas. The city made an offer which was accepted. The new-hire was supposed to start work on Monday, Oct. 5, however he called on Oct. 2 and said he was not coming.
“When it was first announced that Clinton (Wooldridge) was going to retire, as a city council member, I never even considered the position to be honest. I always had my eye on the prize of someday running for sheriff,” said Boone. “But when the other guy turned down the position, the city council discussed what was going to be our Plan B. Do we open up the process to new applications or move forward in some other way.” Broz recalled it was about that time that Mayor Lance Smiga suggested that they were looking past the best candidate for the job – Rick Boone.
“Lance and Gary asked me if I was interested,” said Boone. “It was a tough decision. I talked with my family and we prayed about it and it seemed like a good move.
“Andy (Sheriff Louderback) and I have worked together for 26 years so I knew that by going over to the police department our relationship would continue and that the two departments working together would be a little stronger. Andy and I talked about it and he thought it would be a good idea too.”
“I told Lance and Gary that I would be honored to accept it,” said Boone.
When it gets down to the police work aspect of the job, Boone does not see much difference in his current job and the new position as police chief. He noted that the County’s Commissioners Court and Edna City Council operate a little differently and that may take some time to adjust to, but he knows that he has advantages over an outsider getting the job. He has a long history of working and living in Jackson County, and he already has working relationships with organizations and members of the community.
Boone also has some thoughts on what some of his priorities might be as Edna police chief.
“One of my goals and objectives would be to upgrade the police department in certain aspects. I’d like to focus on patrol. Just being seen in public is a deterrent to crime, so I think building up patrol would probably be my No.1 goal,” said Boone.”
The newly hired police chief also commented that he would like for the department to have stronger, positive public relations with the community. Just as he has personally assisted with various civic organizations and cookouts over his years working for the Sheriff’s Office, Boone said he would like for Edna officers to get more involved with the public.
When it comes to the city council vacancy, Broz explained that Boone is currently running unopposed for the District 3 council position so the council will have to wait until after the election to fill the seat. The council will accept names of any District 3 residents and conduct interviews in order to make an appointment.
“The council will continue,” said Broz. “Anyone from District 3 can thrown their name in the hat. We can not do anything until after the election.”
After serving the City of Edna for 36 years, Police Chief Clinton Wooldridge announced his retirement in August which will be effective Jan. 1, 2021.