Tenaha won't forget prior mistakes, new police department to 'concentrate on law-abiding future'

The newest honorary member of the Tenaha Police Department is rock and roll singer Dave Evans, formerly of AC/DC. The Australian rocker is the first non-American citizen to be made an honorary police officer in the U.S.
The newest honorary member of the Tenaha Police Department is rock and roll singer Dave Evans, formerly of AC/DC. The Australian rocker is the first non-American citizen to be made an honorary police officer in the U.S.
Mayor ProTem Natlie Harris will officially assume city manager duties following Saturday's mayoral election.
Mayor ProTem Natlie Harris will officially assume city manager duties following Saturday's mayoral election.

TENAHA, TX (KTRE) - A quick Google search of "Tenaha, Texas" will lead you to numerous articles about the town and a string of entries about corruption by city officials.

They were accused of profiling during traffic stops, illegal forfeitures, racial discrimination, federal lawsuits, and settlements dating back to 2007. A five-year court order that required law enforcement monitoring is expiring soon.

Now, new city leadership is working hard to present a positive image, starting with a new police department.

The number one change in Tenaha is a city marshal's office that required elections, which were never held by past leaders, is no more. In its place is a Tenaha Police Department.

"We've been under the stigma of circumstances for the past ten years and we really wanted to move on from that. It's a fresh look and a fresh start," said Natalie Harris, the mayor pro-tem of Tenaha.

Police Chief Jeremy Pope holds a similar philosophy about starting over and doing it right. 

"We enforce the laws here. And we do it ethically and respectfully....what happened in the past I can't do anything about, but I can do something about the future."

A force of three will follow their chief. Wranglers are worn when off duty. On duty, Pope requires formal police attire that can't be mistaken by anyone.

"I'm about community policing. If a child gets lost, what do they look for? A uniform. And I think professionalism and being well-dressed makes a big difference when dealing with the public," Pope said.

Chief Pope has established rapport with corporate leaders. Donations, combined with grants, saved the city a quarter million dollars.

"Tenaha is a small town, but we have great, great potential. And to me, potential is an opportunity to do things here that's never been done before," Harris said.

Such as honoring rock and roll singer Dave Evans, former band member of AC/DC.

"I'm still over the moon. Absolutely over the moon," Evans said.

The Australian rocker has left his mark on the Tenaha Police Department. The close friend of Sgt. Joey Hudnall traveled from England for Saturday's police department dedication.

Evans says he is still elated about receiving two special honors.

"To be awarded the key to the city was fantastic, and then to be made an honorary police officer with my own badge is unbelievable. A beautiful badge. A beautiful key. A city plaque. Incredible," Evans said.

A rock star as an honorary police officer. The future does hold promise.

The Australian Embassy in the U.S. tweeted Dave Evans Thursday, leaving Tenaha in the world news for something positive.

Evans will return in December for a benefit concert.

Following Saturday's mayoral election, pro-tem Natlie Harris will officially be named the city manager.

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