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Sullivan City parts ways with police chief

Former Sullivan City police Chief Joseph D. Cordova. (Photo by Dave Hendricks / The Progress Times.)


Sullivan City parted ways with police Chief Joseph D. Cordova on Monday.

During a meeting on Monday night, the Sullivan City Council voted to “accept recommendation of city manager to terminate the employee as directed in executive session.” City Councilman Rene “Cuate” Peña, who made the motion, didn’t identify the employee by name.

The Sullivan City Police Department, however, notified the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement that Cordova was no longer employed — effective Monday.

What prompted the decision remains unclear. Sullivan City refused to release any details.

Mayor Alma Salinas and City Manager Ana Mercado referred a request for comment to City Attorney Frank Garza.

“We’re not going to comment on personnel matters,” Garza said.

Cordova couldn’t be reached for comment after the City Council meeting on Monday night.

Joseph D. Cordova, 33, of Mission attended Mission High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas-Pan American.

After graduation, Cordova accepted a dispatcher position with the Palmhurst Police Department. Palmhurst, though, fired Cordova after just four months because of scheduling problems.

Palmhurst gave Cordova a general discharge, which is reserved for employees who had a documented “performance problem” or faced a disciplinary investigation.

Sullivan City offered Cordova a chance to start over.

Cordova excelled on patrol and earned a promotion to sergeant. When police Chief Richard Ozuna left for Alamo, he became the interim police chief.

Sullivan City offered Cordova the permanent job in May 2020. It came with a $700,000 budget and responsibility for more than a dozen employees, including dispatchers, police officers and a crime victims liaison.

“He’s always been commended by us, as well as our mayor, for his performance,” said City Councilman Jaime Villarreal. “And the great job he’s done for our city.”

Villarreal said he believed Cordova had been fired, but he wasn’t certain.

“What I heard and based on the recommendation from our city manager, I think so,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal said he didn’t know what prompted the decision.

“We were notified that two of our officers had left the job, I guess, to find some other ventures,” Villarreal said. “Or they found some other work somewhere.”

Villarreal said he didn’t know why the officers left.

“And then it caught me by surprise that the chief was fired as well,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal said he wanted to know more about the decision and hear from Cordova himself.

“He seems to be a very smart gentleman. And he knew the job,” Villarreal said. “He knew how to handle personnel well. And I was very satisfied of his services to our city and our citizens.”

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