PA hires interim police chief

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Until a new Port Arthur police chief is hired, a former Beaumont policeman with 42 years active experience will lead the city’s police department on an interim basis.

Weldon Dunlap, 69, of Port Neches retired from the Beaumont police force in December 2009 as the city’s assistant chief of police.

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“I started when I was 21,” he said.

He served under Frank Coffin Jr., when he was named assistant police chief.

After his retirement, Dunlap took a year off then signed on to a reserve deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, where he still flies the department’s helicopter when needed.

Dunlap said he was contacted by the city of Port Arthur to step in when Mark Blanton retired this week.

His first duty was one that Blanton performed many times during his long career with the Port Arthur police department — sitting through City Council meetings to keep order.

When describing his management style, Dunlap said he was “accountable, professional, progressive and community oriented.”

His main duty in Port Arthur will be to make a smooth transition from the previous chief to the next permanent chief.

Dunlap is married to wife Sharlette, has two grown children and two grandchildren.

He enjoys hunting, fishing and flying and is a member of the Nederland Avenue Church of Christ.

Dunlap is a lifetime member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

“I take this as a good opportunity to work and help out the city of Port Arthur,” he said.

Port Arthur’s search for a new city manager began in earnest this week when Strategic Government Resources, the firm hired to help find a new police chief, posted the opening on May 16, City Manager Brian McDougal said.

According to the company’s Web site, the selected candidate should have a bachelor’s degree and 10 years of increasing responsibility at a senior level department command/administrative level such as assistant chief, deputy chief, or captain, among other qualifications including experience with collective bargaining and union contracts.

The posting states the qualified candidate would strongly be preferred to reside in Port Arthur.

McDougal said as of Tuesday there were no applicants.

The city hopes to have a new police chief in place within three months, but in the meantime believes the city is in good hands with Dunlap.

“He comes to us highly recommended by law enforcement in this area and we are excited to have him here for this interim period,” McDougal said.


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