The City of Normangee finds itself embattled in scandal again, after its Police Chief, Charles Herford, was arrested and charged with one count of Felony (3rd degree) Deadly Conduct and one count of Felony (3rd degree) Evading with a Motor Vehicle last Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Herford was arrested Wednesday morning after arguing with his wife, discharging a weapon to threaten her, and fleeing from their home in an effort to evade arrest.
In a sworn statement by Texas Ranger, Steven Jeter, he states that he received a telephone call from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) requesting assistance with a shooting investigation, which involved Normangee Police Chief, Charles Herford, and his wife, Holly Herford. Madison County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatchers received a call from Herford’s wife crying, concerned about the family’s safety. The initial conversation, however, got disconnected.
At approximately 1:55 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22nd, LCSO was dispatched to a “shots fired and possible suicide call” at the Herford’s Fourth Street residence, according to official statement. While deputies were in route to the scene, Herford left his home in his patrol car. LCSO Deputies observed Herford’s marked patrol car speeding away and attempted to make a traffic stop on Herford. According to the responding officers, Herford “blacked out his lights” (turned off his headlights) and a short vehicle pursuit ensued, with Herford eventually evading deputies. Herford’s whereabouts were unknown for several hours after the pursuit. However, contact was made with him via the LCSO communications primary police channel. Police officers with the Madisonville Police Department then talked with Herford over the police radio.
Normangee ISD was notified of the situation and school was subsequently cancelled at 6:30 a.m.
After lengthy negotiations, Herford agreed to peacefully surrender to authorities and at approximately 7 a.m., Herford surrendered himself to Texas Ranger, Steven Jeter, along with several other LCSO deputies. Herford was arrested on the street in front of his residence with no further incident.
A custodial interview was then held with Herford, in which he waived his Miranda Rights, and confessed to discharging a handgun inside his residence after arguing with his wife. He also confessed that he saw a police car chase him (during the incident) and “blacked out” his lights and sped away from the scene. Herford denied that he was trying to shoot his wife or children, according to court documents.
The Leon County Judge in Herford’s bond hearing set bond for a total of $8,500 for both charges ($5,000 for Deadly Conduct charge and $3,500 for Evading in a Motor Vehicle charge). After arraignment Thursday, Herford posted bail and was released from the Leon County Jail.
On Friday, March 24th, during the regularly scheduled Normangee City Council meeting, council members discussed the future of Police Chief Charles Herford’s employment by the city. Normangee Mayor, Gary Dawkins, then delivered a letter to Herford stating that he would be placed on suspension with pay until further notice.
Several Normangee citizens spoke out about how they are disappointed by the incident and have become dismayed with what the city appears to be turning into. One person stated that “Right now we don’t have a police chief in town, and we really don’t have any law here in town, and I just hate that this little town has had such bad luck with police officers.”