Melvin: Rangers investigation under way

Published 6:09 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2018


The Texas Rangers have started their investigation into what Port Arthur Police Chief Patrick Melvin said was a perceived threat by a department sergeant against him and his family, the chief confirmed Tuesday.

Melvin said he talked with investigators last week over the phone and Tuesday in his office.

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He said there is no timeline on the investigation — “I’m not rushing them,” he said — but that he will begin an administrative investigation of the incident after the Texas Rangers complete their criminal investigation.

Melvin’s confirmation of the investigation came on the same day a Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said an in an emailed statement that there was no investigation “at this time.”

The Port Arthur News emailed the Texas Rangers on Feb. 1 to see if an investigation had been initiated.

On Jan. 23, Port Arthur Councilman Willie Lewis shared with the Port Arthur News a letter from Melvin to Port Arthur city officials in which the chief requested an investigation be made by the state agency into a comment by Sgt. Chris Billiot at a Jan. 18 Port Arthur Police Association meeting.

At that meeting, Billiot reportedly said, “Chief is bleeding and we should step on his neck and cut his head off.”

While Melvin said he believes those words represent a physical threat to him and his family, an attorney for the Police Association said no threat, direct or indirect, had been made. Melvin has served as chief for more than a year, and recently applied for the police chief’s job in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a finalist, but was not chosen.

Last week, members of the chief’s civilian advisory board said Billiot should resign his job and questioned the sergeant’s continued department employment. Reginald Trainer, who chairs the board, led a small rally in front of the Port Arthur Police Station and said the comments attributed to Billiot were especially insensitive to African Americans.

He said Billiot has never apologized to Patrick.