Beleaguered police chief quits
By Ian White
RANDALL Aragon, the former La Marque police chief who quit two years ago to become top cop in Fairbank, Alaska, is out of a job after quitting amid accusations of abuse of his office.
The city issued a news release late on Monday that Aragon had tendered his resignation four days earlier, with his departure effective on Friday, October 30.
He was not on active duty at the time, having been returned to gardening leave on October 25 by incoming mayor Jim Matherly after less than a week back in harness following reinstatement by outgoing mayor John Eberhart.
The reinstatement ended a month or so of paid administrative leave while city officials investigated a former police chief’s accusations that Aragon, left, had touted his services for a $600 contract to conduct a commercial security assessment that his officers could have provided free.
Eberhart called him back on October 19, three days after police sergeant Allen Brandt was shot five times in the city, reasoning that the department needed his leadership in its hour of crisis.
Matherly took the mayoralty from bitter rival Eberhart on October 24 and sent the chief home again one day later, arguing that his reinstatement had come too early because the investigation into his actions had not yet been completed.
Aragon, who wrote a popular column in The Post while at La Marque, threw in the towel in his hope of exoneration two days after that.
By horrible coincidence, his resignation came the day that Brandt, who had been released from hospital several days earlier, returned for scheduled surgery to remove shrapnel from an eye, an operation that led to complications from which he died on Sunday.
The shrapnel had pierced his eye when his body armor deflected one of the bullets with which he was shot. Reports suggest that his other injuries were to his legs.
The Post was still trying to reach Aragon for comment at press time on Friday. He had previously declined to say anything about the allegations against him during the investigation, promising a full statement on the matter at its conclusion. The Post understands that the city is still conducting the investigation despite his departure.