Henderson County Sheriff’s Office taking Coffee City calls in wake of dismantled police force

Henderson County Sheriff’s Office now responding to Coffee City calls
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:03 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -Now that the Coffee City Council has voted to fire their police chief and dismantled their police department the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office has had to step in to help out.

This comes after a Houston tv station found that an unusually large number of officers employed by the city, and many were working remotely in Harris County.

Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse says his deputies will now be stepping in to cover the Coffee City area until their police department is up and running.

“We’re not going to be assigning a deputy specifically to the city of Coffee City. Basically, we’ve got deputies that are responsible for the east end of the county and those deputies are also going to be responsible for if there are any calls that come into the city of Coffee City,” Hillhouse said.

Sheriff Hillhouse says Coffee City receives almost 300 law enforcement calls a year. His deputies respond to that number across the county in a month. He says it takes roughly 17 minutes for the deputies to respond to the calls within the city.

“Which I know 17 minutes can be a long time when you’re needing help, and you are needing law enforcement, but with the number of deputies we have and the size of the county, I’m fairly comfortable with that estimated time of arrival,” Hillhouse said.

Calls will be answered in the most urgent order. Coffee City has a population of 244.

Sheriff Hillhouse also notes his department, like much of the state and country, is facing an officer shortage and will be extending themselves into other roles in the city.

“With them not having a police department, I just had a conversation with the mayor we are going to have to bailiffing his court, the city court and we will have to be covering his city council meetings so that’s going to be a little different,” Hillhouse said.

He says this shortage can also affect the hiring process for the city, cities around Coffee City have openings that aren’t being filled.

“It can be very difficult, especially when they are trying to find that right fit. It can be difficult,” Hillhouse said.

Sheriff Hillhouse expects the hiring process to take several months to be fully staffed