Normangee police chief arrested after standoff at his home

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The police chief in a small town north of College Station was arrested Wednesday after a standoff at his home. (Photo: The Normangee Star)

After gunfire, a brief chase and negotiations by police radio, the police chief in Normangee, a small town north of College Station, has been arrested.

Charles Herford is charged with evading arrest and deadly conduct.

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Deputies responded to his home in the 400 block of North 4th Street after a 911 call around 1:55 a.m. Texas Rangers said dispatchers spoke briefly to Herford's wife, but then the call dropped. When they called back, investigators said, the dispatcher heard two gunshots.

As deputies responded, they located Herford driving through the city in his police unit. They said he refused to pull over. According to DPS, there was a brief chase, but deputies lost Herford. Only later did they realize he ditched his police unit and walked a few blocks back to his home.

Around 5:30 a.m., deputies found Herford back at his home, but they said he wouldn't come out. They negotiated with him over his police radio for the next 90 minutes before he finally gave up peacefully.

Normangee Mayor Gary Dawkins described the situation as "very sad, not only for the city but him and his family." He said it is unclear if Herford's arrest will affect his employment, but Herford will likely be placed on some type of leave pending the resolution of the case.

Herford was booked at the Leon County Jail. His patrol vehicle is now in possession of the mayor.

"It's just crazy. This world's crazy," said Normangee resident Raymond Kennerly. He said he knows the chief, who he described as a "good guy".

Investigators are not saying what sparked the incident.

This is not the first time a Normangee police chief has had a run-in with the law. In 2013, then-Chief Joseph Ray Navarro was arrested in connection with a DPS drug investigation. Court documents indicated Navarro was looking up license plates for a drug dealer who was under investigation. Navarro took a plea bargain and was sentenced to two years probation.

Mayor Dawkins said Herford's arrest leaves only one part-time officer on the police force in Normangee, which could keep the force from patrolling the city of about 800 residents. Presently, calls for service will go through the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

Dawkins said city leaders will meet in emergency session later this week to discuss new policing options.

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