Glenn Heights Police Chief Phillip Prasifka will take the role as the next Robinson police chief in September, city officials announced Wednesday.

Prasifka will replace former Robinson Police Chief Rusty Smith, who retired in May after almost 11 years with the city. Prasifka has served as Glenn Heights’ police chief since 1999 and has more than 31 years of experience in law enforcement and public safety, according to a press release from the city.

“I have been in my present position for 18 years, and I wasn’t actively looking to move, but I saw the posting on the city of Robinson and was really intrigued,” Prasifka said after the announcement Wednesday.

“The alignment with my current experience and setting in Glenn Heights is very similar to that of Robinson, with the proximity to (Interstate) 35, the small-town feel, but with amenities of a bigger city, and the fact that you are near a bigger city.

“Things just seemed to align perfectly, and then after 18 years, you are often ready to move on to a new challenge, and I am excited.”

A statewide search resulted in 52 applicants for the position, and officials narrowed the pool to three finalists, Robinson City Manager Craig Lemin said in the press release. A panel of community members and a panel of Robinson Police Department members reviewed the finalists and contributed to Prasifka’s selection.

“Selecting the next chief for the Robinson Police Department was a very difficult decision,” Lemin said in the press release. “We had three excellent candidates, and the choice was not an easy one. I am very pleased to have Phillip as our next police chief.”

September start

Former Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Tammy L. Burr and Fort Worth Police Capt. Kathryn D. Rowell were the other two finalists, named in June. Lemin said Prasifka is expected to start in his new role in the first week of September.

Prasifka agreed to a salary of $91,000, and additional post-offer arrangements will continue to be made, Lemin said. Prasifka’s experience in Glenn Heights will translate well to Robinson when he takes over as chief, Lemin said.

“At the end of the day, I know the consensus was that his experience as a chief makes him better prepared for coming into a city our size, and that just kind of put him ahead of the other two,” Lemin said. “The other two finalists definitely had their positives, but having to make a transition from a larger organization to a smaller organization is always a challenge, and Phillip has already been doing that and he seems ready to set in and move forward.”

Prasifka started his career in patrol for the College Station Police Department, where he later worked in the criminal investigation division and on a regional drug task force.

He became the Electra police chief in 1997 before moving to Glenn Heights as chief in 1999. He also has served as Glenn Heights’ interim city manager and assistant emergency management coordinator and holds a Texas master peace officer certificate.

Community priority

Eager to get into a leadership role in Robinson, Prasifka said he will make transparency and community a priority for his administrators and officers in Robinson.

“I am very eager to get started and hit the ground running,” he said. “I’ve met some of the staff through the (interview) process, but I am excited to meet all the staff, the community and get moving for the new challenge in my life, and I think as a team we will do great things in the future.”

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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