First-ever policeman ready to roll in Milano

Patrols begin Thursday for department

Police Chief Colin Owen (R) and Mayor Billy Barnett confer in advance of historic event Thursday. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Police Chief Colin Owen (R) and Mayor Billy Barnett confer in advance of historic event Thursday. Reporter/Mike Brown Milano has a police department.

An idea that’s been 10 years in the making becomes a reality Thursday—the Fourth of July— when Police Chief Colin Owen begins patrolling the streets of Milano.

“We’ve been wanting this, literally, for 10 years,” Mayor Billy Barnett said. “We’ve had town hall meetings and discussions and just couldn’t pull things together or find the right man. We’ve got him now.”

Chief Owen is a native of California, and a Texan by choice. “I like Texas’s laws and politics better than California’s,” he said.

He comes to Milano from law enforcement in Hays County and is fully certified by TECLOSE ( Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers.)

RESERVE— Owenisin charge but he won’t be a one-man department.

The city council has authorized Owen to hire up to six reserve officers. Two are on board and one is a highly familiar name.

Herbie Vaughan, former longtime Precinct 3 constable, and current Rockdale Fire Marshal, will serve under Owen along with Pat Presley.

Owen had previously served as one of Vaughan’s deputy con- stables.

Owen said all three Milano policemen will be on hand in Thursday’s Fourth of July parade through the city.

“It’s great to have Herbie with the force as he will be able to use his drug dogs,” Owen said.

HIGHWAY—One area where you’ll definitely see the new police force is “The Highway,” a thoroughfare that almost divides the municipality in half and is the source of virtually all the city’s traffic problems.

Milano’s stretch of heavily-traveled roadways includes two US highways, 79 and 190, and one state thoroughfare, Texas 36.

“We have lots of speeding and there are some complaints by our local residents that they can’t even get on the highway at times, with all the excessive speeding,” Barnett said.

“Of course we will be a presence on the highway,” Owen said. “But I sure don’t want to leave the impression that’s all we’re going to do.”

“We’ll be patrolling the city streets and I want the Milano Police Department to become familiar at the schools,” he said.

Milano recently okayed an ad valorem tax, which will help fund the new police department. Fines will also go toward the department.

“There’s a possibility of applying for state grants down the road, once the department is up and running,” Owen said.

DISPATCH—Barnett praised the job done over the years by the Milam County Sheriff’s Department as Milano’s primary law enforcement agency.

Milano’s new department won’t be on patrol 24/7, at least not for a while, although that’s an ultimate goal for Chief Owen.

Ba r net t sa id t he sher if f ’s department will continue to cover Milano when no local officers are on duty.

“We’ll be dispatched through Cameron and my department will share an office in the old fire station-civic center,” he said.

Number is 512-455-2082.

“It won’t be staffed but there will be recorded messages telling patrons how to get in touch with police,” Owen said.

“And for emergencies, of course, continue to call 911,” Owen said.

He invited Milano residents to use the city’s website,

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