ARLINGTON, Texas — More than 50% of sworn officers with the Arlington Police Association voted that they had no confidence in the department's police Chief Al Jones, according to a survey taken at Arlington's City Council meeting Tuesday night.
The Arlington Police Association announced in a news release Tuesday it planned to discuss a petition of no confidence in Jones. The police union was seeking the no-confidence vote after Jones fired officer Robert Phillips following a shooting that happened last month.
According to the Arlington Police and Arlington Municipal Patrolman's Association survey that Officer JP Mason, president of the Arlington Police Association, handed out Tuesday night -- out of the 671 sworn officers, 368 signed the no-confidence petition.
The union maintains there was a lack of due process in Phillips' firing, which happened immediately after he shot and killed a man in Arlington during a low-speed chase on Oct. 21. Jones said he fired Phillips in order to maintain transparency and trust with the community.
Jones held a press conference after the shooting where he showed both bodycam and dashboard camera footage of the shooting, which happened off Carla Court.
In it, Arlington police officer Phillips is seen shooting through the windshield of Jesse Joseph Fischer's white Jeep SUV, killing the 40-year-old.
Jones said he terminated Phillips' employment because he violated the multiple department orders that include not shooting at a moving vehicle and only using deadly force when "protecting yourself or someone else."
Shortly before Arlington police released the video of the encounter, the Arlington Police Association called on the department to reinstate Phillips, who officials said was a 7-year veteran with the department.
The association called the firing a "hasty decision" and said the officer feared for his life during the incident.
"They are handing down judgments without giving time for a complete investigation," said Mason.
Charley Wilkinson, executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, said in the police union release Friday that Phillips "followed his training as he believed his life was under immediate threat."
Wilkinson called Phillips' firing "a political firing by an administration that is publicly washing its hands of any connection to this officer that they screened, hired and trained."
Wilkinson said CLEAT plans to represent Phillips, should he appeal the firing.
Jones, however, shot down the claim that the firing was political and said it was a result of wanting to be "transparent" and maintaining trust with the residents of Arlington.
"I'm not looking for any type of political asperation or any clout from any politics," Jones said. "It's not about politics. It's about community trust. It's about being transparent."
During a phone call with WFAA Wednesday, Mason talked about holding a meet and confer session with officers to address future proposals that would limit the power Chief Jones has to discipline officers.
Mason surveyed officers about it, something that has the attention of Arlington residents.
"The facts will play out as the whole thing gets litigated or whatever else. In that profession, it's really important that the officers have confidence in their leader," Arlington resident Jeremy Towal said.
It's a situation Arlington resident Wendy Frisina is also watching closely. She says she is seriously concerned about how it will impact local law enforcement.
"I am a little concerned, and I don't think we should just jump to not having a concern in our police chief until this is sorted out a little more carefully," said Frisina.