GRAPELAND, Texas (KTRE) – A Grapeland police chief who was fired from his job in September has been officially charged with felony crimes.
Kody Stephens, 34, was charged with tampering with a witness and tampering with a government record. Each charge carried a $5,000 bond amount. Stephens bonded out the same day.
In a letter dated Sept. 17 to Stephens, Mayor Woody Mitchell detailed the reasons for his termination, effective that same day.
The mayor wrote that the city of Grapeland lost the trust and confidence in Stephens. A violation of a police department policy rule of felony tampering with a witness, as well as a felony charge of falsifying government documents, are cited as the first two reasons for termination. A misdemeanor charge of lying to an investigator was also noted.
Stephens was indicted and true billed by a Grand Jury and has been added to the nationwide Brady List, the mayor said. The Brady list “contains the names and details of law enforcement officers who have had sustained incidents of untruthfulness, criminal convictions, candor issues, or some other type of issue placing their credibility into question,” according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“In addition, you have lost the confidence and trust of the district attorney and county attorney, as both have said they can no longer accept cases from you due to the aforementioned charges,” Mayor Mitchell continued.
He named several instances showing “lack of good judgement,” which included not properly entering narcotics into evidence and not filling out police reports as needed. He also wrote that Stephens “forgot” about the location of a Grapeland Police Department patrol vehicle.
He said Stephens also failed to complete investigations which led to the district attorney dismissing those cases.
“These actions are unbecoming of a chief of police and will not be tolerated by the City of Grapeland,” he wrote.
Stephens had been hired as police chief in March 2020.
Written by Stephanie Frazier