TEMPLE — When the FBI searched Jarrell City Hall before Christmas, the only personnel file agents took away was that of former Jarrell Police Chief Andres Gutierrez, City Manager Mel Yantis said Thursday.
A group of FBI agents walked into Jarrell City Hall and served a sealed search warrant.
During the next several hours, agents asked questions, searched computer files and took computers.
The computers were returned Jan. 3, Yantis said.
“This whole thing has been blown out of proportion. Some in the media called it a raid. The FBI didn’t come in with guns drawn,” he said.
Jarrell’s city attorney called the FBI on Wednesday and requested either a copy or the original file back for the city’s records, Yantis said.
“We never had any complaints filed against Gutierrez in the six years that I’ve been here, but there are always going to be people who hate you and you might not ever know why,” he said.
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement said no disciplinary actions of suspension or revocation were taken on Gutierrez’s license and there are no pending complaints at this time.
Gutierrez’s resignation in October was short and to the point, Yantis said.
“The letter said he resigned due to ‘conditions’ and to pursue his education. He didn’t elaborate on what those conditions were,” Yantis said.
FBI officials confirmed they were not investigating any current employees or elected officials, Yantis said.
“There was no indication of any investigation before they walked in with the sealed search warrant,” he said. “They did have more questions about our electronic records and how to access them, and we contacted our former IT guy, who helped provide the needed passwords. I have the utmost confidence no city funds were illegally used.”
FBI spokeswoman Michelle Lee said she could neither confirm nor deny an investigation is taking place in Jarrell or provide any other information.
A small city like Jarrell doesn’t have much money so it’s always clear what it’s being spent on if you look at the records, Yantis said.
The Jarrell Police Department has been mostly a two-person department since its inception in June 2006.
A third officer went from part-time to full-time just three weeks ago. Yantis said there hasn’t been much supervision of the department by the city except for the budget and expenses.
“We don’t even write a lot of tickets. The police department doesn’t cover I-35, the DPS and county do that. And until recently, we only had old police cars with at least 150,000 miles on them. They weren’t in any shape to patrol I-35.”
Over the past two years, Jarrell saw an upswing in sales taxes, Yantis said. The city was able to buy a 2013 Ford Explorer SUV and will have a new 2014 vehicle when it’s finished being outfitted.
“That’s quite a big change for us. Before this, the newest police car was bought in 2006,” Yantis said.
Jarrell’s police officers also have new bullet-proof vests, replacing old ones that drew media attention in 2012 for their age and condition. The vests were replaced with grant money, Yantis said.