By Catherine Hosman
BERTRAM — The City of Bertram has hired a University of Texas police officer as its new police chief.
Bertram Mayor Dickie Allen said the Council selected Tracy Weems as Police Chief on Jan. 22. He will be sworn in Feb. 1.
In his new position, Weems will face some challenges beginning with hiring additional police officers. With an annual police department budget of $229,160, which includes salaries, Allen said they plan to add one investigative officer to the staff.
Currently, there are five reserve officers on staff and Allen said that number will stay the same.
Salary negotiations are still under way for the new chief and Allen said he will bring that topic before the Council at the Tuesday, Feb. 5 meeting.
Weems, who retired from the Abilene Police Department following a distinguished 19-year career, has worked as a police officer for the University of Texas Police Department since 2011. He was one of 34 candidates vying for the Bertram job.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve as chief of police for this area,” Weems said. “I want to help lead the officers to be an active part in shaping that department and to be an active leader within the city itself.”
He said he plans to play a big role in protecting and doing community policing stating that he wants to “continue to serve the community here and make a difference.”
Weems and his wife, Debbie, purchased retirement property in Burnet and said he is looking forward to retiring one day. When the opportunity to serve Bertram presented itself, he said “it was one we actively wanted to pursue.”
But it was not without competition. Of the 34 candidates, 10 were chosen for further consideration. From that 10, three finalists were identified.
“We brought in three people before the Council and members interviewed the three final candidates before choosing Weems as the new chief,” Allen said. “We interviewed everyone the same, to be equal.”
Weems replaces former chief Ron Hall, whose last day on the job was Dec. 27. Weems will be sworn in at 9 a.m. Friday at Bertram City Hall
One of his first goals is to spend time with officers and residents to get a “feel for the expectations and needs” of the community, he said. As the senior representative of his department, he said he wants to bridge the gap between the city council to see how the department can meet those expectations.
Weems and his wife have an extended family of four children with the youngest age 16, and one granddaughter. Born and raised in New Mexico, he moved to Abilene while in the military.
He joined the Abilene Police Department in 1991 and his career spans multiple disciplines. He has served as patrol sergeant, patrol commander, and SWAT team leader as well as commander for the SWAT team, bomb squad and internal affairs. He said he was also an instructor at the house academy and traveled across the country teaching response to homicide in progress with the ALERRT program along with Crowd Management and Incident Command System and Radio Operations.
“I feel like we got an excellent police chief,” Allen said. “He is highly qualified, and a nice guy.”