With the recent resignation of Magnolia Police Chief Domingo Ibarra, the city has appointed an interim replacement and begun its search for a new chief to take the helm of the department.
"I believe Chief Ibarra did good things for Magnolia and brought our department a long way," Magnolia Mayor Todd Kana said. "I want to make sure we get the best person out there."
Magnolia City Secretary Lynne George said Ibarra submitted a letter of resignation Nov. 18, citing personal reasons as his decision to immediately step down. Magnolia City Council held a special meeting Nov. 25 to approve Ibarra's resignation and appoint Charles Wedemeyer as interim police chief through Texas First Group at an hourly contracted rate. Texas First Group helps place experienced individuals in interim municipal positions across the state.
Wedemeyer began his career in law enforcement as an officer for the Harris County Sheriff's Office in the 1960s, and worked his way up to the position of major in 1995. More recently, Wedemeyer served as police chief for the City of Jersey Village from 1996–2010, and has since worked in interim positions across the state.
"I would like to involve our new interim chief [in the search for a new police chief]; he's kind of like having an interim and consultant at the same time," Kana said. "I've been [through] a couple separations of chiefs in Magnolia. Before, we seemed to always pull [new police chiefs] locally. I'm not against that, but I want to see what's out there."
Kana said the city might enlist the help of an organized committee to aid in conducting a thorough search for a new police chief. The police department plans to continue a contract agreement with Wedemeyer for at least three months before hiring a full-time police chief, he said.
"Of course there's always budgetary concerns, and you can't always afford the best [police chief], but I want to make sure we do an adequate search," Kana said. "I think we have a really great department, and I'd like to see it continue to move forward."
Prior to his resignation, Ibarra worked in law enforcement for 32 years and served as Magnolia police chief for five years. Ibarra was selected as one of 30 executives across the country to attend The International Association of Chiefs of Police—MacArthur Foundation Law Enforcement Leadership Institute on Juvenile Justice in Seattle in September.