The Barrow Report – a “composition” about the Forney Police Department

On October 31st, 2016 Rick Barnes officially retired as chief of police in Forney. Mr Barnes had served the citizens of Forney for 37 years. Upon Barnes’ retirement, city manager James Fisher appointed Louis Allwin Barrow, Jr to act as interim chief until a replacement for Barnes could be hired. Barrow and Fisher were not strangers as Barrow had served as interim chief in Murphy, TX. James Fisher was city manager of Murphy, TX before becoming city manager in Forney.

Courtesy The Corsicana Daily Sun

Barrow served as interim chief for Forney PD from November 2016 thru December 2016. And During his short tenure as interim chief he performed a very detailed assessment of the Forney PD. The assessment ((a composition as Barrow refers to it)) was then presented to incoming chief Robert Sherwin. I recently received a copy of the assessment via a public information request through the City of Forney.

Barrow divides the assessment into 5 components ….. Culture / Environment, Operations, CID, Patrol, and Recommendations. In each area Barrow describes “issues” he has found in the department. In each of these areas Barrow goes into some detail what he sees as areas of concern. Barrow cites works by Bill Cottringer, PhD, Jack Gibb, and W. Edwards Deming as a measuring stick for areas of concern within the department.

The assessment is mainly centered around issues with the command staff. Barrow seems to take issue with the way Chief Barnes ran the department. He takes direct aim at Barnes when he states, “A positive, progressive, professional and ethical leader will provide the Forney Police Department with a means by which to emulate and improve”. Barrow then describes the culture of the department under Barnes’ leadership as, “Our current command structure, rules that are applied and policy, is based upon “entitlement”.

Throughout the assessment Barrow continues his attack on the command staff. He takes issue with the way 2 long term members of the PD were promoted to their current positions. In the assessment he states that “the promotions of Jason (Rocky) Ray and Shane Prewitt were arbitrary by the Chief (Barnes) and had resulted in mistrust of the administration and exemplified “the good ole boy system”.

At the end of the assessment he makes some recommendations. Those recommendations are…

  • Reduce the number of Captains from two to ?
  • Fruit-basket turnover of CID
  • Evaluate patrol deployment and conduct a manpower study
  • Evaluate the Policy manual and update it to fit your new organizational structure
  • Reorganize the department to provide an adequate chain of command responsibility and accountability

During his two month tenure as interim chief of police, Barrow was paid $28,844. Per the transparency portal on the City of Forney’s website, I found the following checks that were issued to Barrow, (11/22/2016) $8653, (12/08/2016) $5769, (12/21/2016) $5769, (1/05/2016) $5769, (1/12/2017) $2884.

Robert Sherwin assumed the duties of chief of Forney PD in January of this year. He was presented a copy of Barrows assessment on December 21st, 2016.

During the August 1st, 2017 meeting of the Forney city council, Clint McNear of the Texas Municipal Police Association spoke on behalf of the Forney Police Officers Association. Mr Mcnear discussed police compensation, retention of officers, and other challenges the Forney police officers are facing. Click here to watch the full video of McNear’s speech courtesy of Forney

This report is certain to elicit a lot of discussion. I have my opinions but to stay true to my charge to present “the facts” I will hold onto them.

Click to read The Barrow Report