Mart police Sgt. Matt Cosper is expected to start as interim police chief soon, after Chief Albert Cavazos submitted his resignation Monday night, City Administrator Kevin Schaffer said.

Cavazos’ resignation takes effect Feb. 14. He has been the subject of three formal complaints by local officials since he started in mid-June.

The city council will accept applications for a new permanent chief and likely decide how to proceed within the next three months, Schaffer said. The council unanimously accepted Cavazos’ resignation Monday night after a meeting to discuss his employment. Cavazos did not make a public statement after the meeting.

“Mart is the type of town that we can’t compete with the Wacos and Woodways of the world, so you understand that you might get an officer that is here for two to three years before they go on to greener pastures,” Schaffer said of potential new hires. “That is OK. We welcome that, but I would love a chief who can help train and bring in new recruits and will do a good job in protecting the citizens of Mart.”

Cavazos, a former Marlin police officer, was hired after the city’s entire police force resigned, citing concerns with city administration.

Cosper was promoted in October to become the department’s only sergeant.

Schaffer filed the first complaint against Cavazos in September. He wrote that Cavazos failed to properly vet an officer he hired from the Marlin police force who was under investigation by the Texas Rangers at the time. The officer was later indicted on an official oppression charge in Falls County and resigned.

The council placed Cavazos on probation for six months, which would have ended in April.

The Mart Independent School District board filed the next complaint against Cavazos on Jan. 14. The board wrote that Cavazos was slow to respond to a threat made against the school on social media and that he did not provide a police presence at the school after the threat.

Superintendent Betsy Burnett attended Monday night’s meeting but did not discuss the board’s complaint with the council.

“I believe there was some miscommunication and I was told the school’s complaint was not going to be addressed,” Burnett said. “I was still relieved a resolution was put in place by the city council, and we will begin to work with new leadership with the city for our district.”

Councilman Trevor Baize filed the third complaint against Cavazos on Jan. 21. Baize wrote that Cavazos refused to cooperate with Limestone County law enforcement officials as they searched for a man wanted for questioning.

As part of Cavazos’ resignation agreement, the city will give him a favorable letter of recommendation and a month’s pay, and his dismissal will be listed so he can be hired by another police department.

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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