The city of Denton is losing three of its top law enforcement officials, including the chief of police.
Chief Lee Howell has resigned, effective Aug. 6, after six years in the role. He'll move to the top job in Saginaw, a northern suburb of Fort Worth. He was chosen for that job last month and will begin work sometime in August, according to a news release from the city of Saginaw.
Two of the Denton Police Department’s deputy chiefs have also submitted their resignations, according to a Denton police spokesman. Deputy Chief Scott Fletcher is leaving July 27. Deputy Chief Roger White is leaving Aug. 1. It’s unclear why they're going.
The city of Denton has not offered details on who will replace Chief Howell in the interim, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The city says it will work with Ralph Andersen & Associates to conduct a nationwide search for Howell's permanent replacement.
Howell had served as Denton’s police chief since October 2011.
Here’s more on Howell’s tenure from the Denton Record-Chronicle:
“During Howell’s tenure as chief, the Denton Police Department has expanded to meet the demands of a growing city. His time as chief also coincided with a period of intense scrutiny among law enforcement officers around the country, primarily related to police shootings involving unarmed black men.
“Under Howell’s leadership, the local department implemented a policy in 2015 requiring all officers to wear body cameras — one of the tools activists have pushed to curb police misconduct. Within the department, the devices were also seen as a way to quickly determine the legitimacy of a complaint against a police officer.”
Before taking over the Denton Police, Howell was chief deputy sheriff for Denton County, starting in January 2005.
Howell began his career in law enforcement at the Denton Police Department in February 1981. There, he served as a patrol officer, field training officer, detective, sergeant and lieutenant overseeing various assignments, including the office of professional standards, special operations, criminal investigations and the narcotics unit. And he spent 16 years in the Denton Police Tactical Unit.