Coffee City, Texas – After investigative reports showed a small East Texas town had one officer for every five residents, city officials canned their police chief and deactivated the police department. Now, locals are showing up at city hall to have their tickets dismissed due to over policing.
Coffee City, a town in East Texas with a population of 250, had 50 officers heavily patrolling city streets and issuing millions of dollars in traffic tickets, according to a KHOU 11 investigative report.
“There’s not much to Coffee City, Texas,” KHOU 11 reporter Jeremy Rogalski wrote last month. “Two liquor stores, a couple of dollar stores, a pizza joint, and a motel. But this town, which is three hours north of Houston, has quite a reputation among those who drive through.”
The news outlet reported the 50 officers employed in the sleepy town earned the city more than $1 million in fines in 2022 with over 5,100 citations. Coffee City was employing five times the number of cops cities of similar size would retain, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement records obtained by KHOU 11.
As a result of the investigation into the unusual level of law enforcement in the town, Coffee City Council didn’t even take 15 minutes to nix its police chief, JohnJay Portillo, and deactivate its police department, according to KHOU 11.
My San Antonio reports that some residents are questioning whether they should pay the fines.