Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

July 26, 2012

Tool Police Chief fired

Warren Loscuito replaced on interim basis by Cpl. Steven Lambert

Athens — The Tool City Council  fired its longtime Police Chief Warren Loscuito  on July 20 without explanation, and has replaced him — on an interim basis — with  Cpl. Steven Lambert, a 4-year veteran of the department.

Personnel problems were given as the reason for Loscuito's dismissal after 15 years with the department.

The vote to terminate was not unanimous, with Councilman Nelson Wright casting the lone dissenting vote in a 4-1 decision.

Mayor Leland Pitts informed Loscuito of the council's decision the following day, promising the council he would thank the chief for his 15 years of service to the city.

Lambert said Thursday that at least two other candidates on the Tool Police Department  at this time will also be applying for the job.

That would be Sgt. Rick Simmons, who has been with the department the longest of the inside candidates,  and Fire Chief – Police Officer Michael Grant, who has been with the department for two years, since leaving his job as interim chief of the Gun Barrel City Fire Department.

The city staff is also running a newspaper ad, opening the job up to qualified persons who might be interested in the job.

Lambert also said he would be applying for the job on a permanent basis.

All applications need to be sent to City  Secretary Makenzie Blaser at tooladmin@embarqmail.com  or to 701 N. Tool Dr., Tool, TX 75143.

Lambert said he had no idea about the time frame the council is looking at in making a decision on the new chief.

No one was willing to talk about a specific reason for the firing, but Lambert said Loscuito's leaving  was met with mixed reaction among the police officers. Some were OK with it; while others were disappointed, he said.

Loscuito had been disciplined by council back in 2007, after some officers complained of mistreatment. He was  reinstated after a short suspension.

Some of those officers also brought suit against the city at the time.

Lambert said his first action as interim chief was making a major push on warrant roundups throughout the city.

“I've had a couple of officers working all day on that, and we'll continue to do that,” he said.

He said he hoped citizens who had outstanding warrants would take this opportunity to come in and get outstanding fines taken care of, before receiving a visit from the officers.

“We'll probably do warrants at least one day a week for the next month,” Lambert said.

Blazer said the starting salary was dependent on an applicant's experience and applications.

Attempts by the Review to to reach Loscuito and Mayor Leland Pitts for comment were unsuccessful.

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