"I just want to tell everybody I am excited to be here. I am ready to work. I am ready to join the community," said new Dumas Police Department (DPD) Chief Ray Resendez on Friday, October 30. Moore County Justice of the Peace Barbara Mulanax had just sworn him in to be the next permanent chief of the DPD replacing the late Marvin Trejo, who died in May. Interim Chief Chris Bratten has been overseeing the department in the meantime.
"There are some great people working in the Dumas Police Department. … I am really excited to be here. We are going to do some great things here in the City of Dumas. Thank you very much," Resendez continued. "My door is always open. I'll welcome any suggestions and any help that we can get. We can't do it by ourselves. We are going to need the help of the community and the city."
Dumas City Manager Arbie Taylor announced on October 20 during the regular meeting of the Dumas City Commission that he had hired Resendez, who until a few days previously had been a captain in the Canyon Police Department.
The commissioners had earlier interviewed Resendez and two other top candidates in executive session and given their stamp of approval to Resendez. Taylor, whose responsibility it is to hire the police chief, was enthusiastic about the new hire. "We were very impressed with his general demeanor and character," he said. "I think there are some good things in the offing when he gets in here. … It is going to be awesome."
Taylor said Resendez came highly recommended from people who had worked with him in the past. "He got lots of good references from several different people."
Those involved in the search process, including law enforcement officials from Borger and Amarillo, were also impressed. "Hands down Ray was the choice of all the panelists and everyone present for the interviews."
The new chief grew up in Tulia. He served for a time as an officer in the Tulia Police Department before moving to Canyon, where he served for 17 years, rising to the rank of captain. Taylor said he was recently one of the finalists for the position of chief in Canyon, but the new city manager at the time chose to go with a candidate from outside the department.
Resendez is taking over the department in a challenging time. COVID is on the increase in Dumas and much of the rest of the world. The population of Dumas is very diverse and growing. But the DPD has not faced the kind of divisive issues and incidents that have plagued some other departments in recent years. The department has never had a racial profiling complaint filed against it. Both Trejo and his predecessor, Jim Nelson, were proponents of community policing and made good relations between the department and all the various elements of the community a priority, something that Bratton continued and enhanced. The single Black Lives Matter protest that took place in Dumas during the summer was peaceful, with police and protesters treating one another with a remarkable degree of respect. One of Resendez' big challenges will be recruiting and retaining qualified officers to fill a number of open positions in the ranks, something that both Trejo and Nelson identified as a major issue for the department. Competition among departments for qualified officers is fierce. Departments in small towns like Dumas are at a disadvantage when competing against those in Amarillo and other cities.