BASTROP, Texas - Clint Nagy walked into his new job as Bastrop’s police chief in the middle of a pandemic. He has been interim since January and was officially promoted to the job by city officials last week.
A situation he admits complicates an already complicated job. “It’s difficult, we want to make sure we are completing the Mission; want to make sure we’re keeping our community safe, and make sure we’re doing it safely,” said Chief Nagy.
Another challenge, the social unrest targeting police departments in major cities across the nation. No clashes have happened on the streets in Bastrop and the city council hasn’t defunded his department the way Austin has but Chief Nagy is mindful of the calls for reform.
“We wanna make sure that we’re trying to bridge that gap between the letter of the law and the actual spirit of the law, meet in the middle,” said Nagy.
The death of George Floyd brought demands for better training in de-escalation. Bastrop police officers, according to Nagy, are expected to have that skill as well as to intervene when they see another law enforcement officer cross the line.
But he has not prohibited the use of chokeholds. “If we are in some sort of physical altercation and the offender is getting the better of us, we can use that as a defensive move to make sure we save our lives,” said Chief Nagy.
There are only 24 sworn officers in the Bastrop Police Department.
To help present a friendlier image, patrol cars recently got a makeover. The new logo is symbolic of the change also happening in Bastrop, like the renovations on Main Street.
SIGN UP FOR FOX 7 AUSTIN EMAIL ALERTS
Traffic enforcement continues to be a top topic here in Bastrop. But many of those who I spoke to say they understand with growth comes crime, and their small town police force will have to grow to meet that challenge. “At the same time the community also needs to pull together not just police force, I feel like it’s a community effort,” said Bastrop resident Ronni Chamblee.
To stay in touch with the community, Chief Nagy goes out on regular beat patrols. He also organizes front yard coffee visits in neighborhoods.
One took place at the home of Brian Floyd. “It was really interesting, my wife and I just moved to Bastrop and we were very curious, especially the current politics in today’s climate to meet the Chief of Police in our new town,” said Floyd.
Like the game of pickle he plays, the concerns Floyd voiced with the chief were direct and to the point. He wants three things from the chief. “Transparency, honesty, presence,” said Floyd.
Basketball courts like this one is also playing a role in Nagy’s community outreach plan. He encourages his officers to organize games with local youth. “Really the only rule is they can’t be the police versus the teenagers for example, we’ve got mixed teams, so we’re playing together. So what we’re trying to do is bridge that gap and make sure that we really are playing on the same team,” said Nagy.
A small town approach to big social issues that is put to test with every patrol.