TEMPLE — Little River-Academy again has its own police coverage. Luis Cortez was sworn in during a special meeting of the City Council on Thursday, Mayor Ronnie White said.

Little River-Academy has been covered by the Bell County Sheriff’s Department since the July 24 resignation of former Police Chief Michael Lugo, who was the community’s former reserve officer. He served the community for 10 days into his 30-day probationary period.

Lugo took on the chief position after the June 19 shooting death of Police Chief Lee Dixon.

Cortez is required to finish a 60-day probationary period before the council evaluates him and decides if he will be the new police chief, White said. Cortez will start work today.

Cortez was the Bell County Precinct 1 constable for about 12 years before running for sheriff against Eddy Lange and Bob Patterson in 2012.

Five people applied for the position, including military veteran Perry Dalby, security guard David Sprankle, Granger Independent School District Police Chief Doug Montgomery, Fort Hood police officer Scott Bennett and Cortez.

Cortez was selected in part because he lives in Belton, White said. Council members also said they liked that he’s been in the area his entire life, is still certified and everyone said good things about him, White added.

“He said on Sunday he wanted the job. He wanted back in law enforcement. He hasn’t been in law enforcement since he ran for Bell County sheriff,” White said.

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