Hired for a Texas police post, Commissioner Randall Aragon announces resignation this week

by Diana Tittle | September 24, 2021
6 min read

Editor’s Note: This story originally report in error that, on July 2, the City of La Marque, Texas, publicly announced Aragon’s hiring, effective Aug. 25, to a top law enforcement position in that city. Two days after the story posted, Commissioner Aragon sent a text (click here to read it) to Sun editor Diana Tittle, stating he was still in discussions with La Marque on July 2 and that his hiring took place on Aug. 25, the day he signed his contract. Tittle double-checked the City of La Marque website, where the hiring announcement was posted, and discovered that she had misunderstood the date of the posting. The Sun regrets the egregious error and apologizes to Aragon for overstating the delay with which he announced his departure. The story’s headline, which originally stated “Hired for a Texas post in early July, Commissioner Randall Aragon announces resignation this week,” and its text have been changed to eliminate the erroneous information.

Truth or Consequences City Commissioner Randall Aragon broke a well-kept secret in announcing his resignation from the commission at the body’s regular meeting on Wednesday. The timing of his public announcement of his departure for a new job in Texas means his successor will be appointed by his fellow commissioners, not elected by the T or C voters.

Randall Aragon headshot
Randall Aragon “never expected” he would leave T or C, but feels “kinda honored” to have been selected to return to law enforcement work. Source: Facebook

Aragon has been hired by the city of La Marque, Texas, where he had previously served as chief of police, to oversee La Marque’s police department’s community outreach program. He will also head special initiatives undertaken at the request of the city council and city manager.

Chaise Cary, La Marque’s interim city manager, posted the announcement of Aragon’s recruitment on that city’s website on July 2. [Correction: The date July 2 appeared at the top of the page on which the hiring decision was announced, but that announcement was (less prominently noted) a Sept. 2 update to the original July 2 posting reporting on leadership changes in city government.] According to the announcement, reposted in its entirety below, Aragon was to begin work on Aug. 25, almost a month before he announced his departure from elected public service in T or C.

Explaining why he had accepted Le Marque’s job offer to his fellow city commissioners on Wednesday, Aragon noted: “It’s nice to be wanted.” When a councilperson with whom he had worked became La Marque’s mayor, Aragon said in an interview yesterday with the Sun, he let the city’s former police chief know that “we need you back.”

Aragon was T or C’s chief of police from July 2018 until his firing for unstated reasons by then City Manager Morris Madrid in September 2019. He was elected to the T or C city commission in the spring of 2020. His term as president of the T or C Rotary Club recently expired, and he will be replaced by President-Elect Virginia Hicks. He also taught special education classes at Hot Springs High School.

On behalf of La Marque, a city of 14,500 in Galveston County, Texas, south of Houston, Interim City Manager Cary gave Aragon a warm, public welcome back. In his July 2 posting on the city’s website, Cary announced:

Effective August 25, 2021, a professional consultant was hired to work directly with the City Manager, Interim Police Chief and the Emergency Management Coordinator as necessary to assist with overall strategic operations. Randall Aragon has been named Chief Public Safety Operations Advisor/Special Assistant to the City Manager. 

Chief Aragon served as the Chief of Police in La Marque from 2009 to 2014. 

He has 39 years of civilian law enforcement experience, of which 29 were served as a Police Chief. For police operations, Chief Aragon and Chief [Chad] Waggoner will have equal and partnering roles in management of La Marque Police Department. 

Chief Waggoner will focus on administration, personnel and facilitates. Chief Aragon will focus on community outreach, and initiatives set forth by City Council and the City Manager’s office.

Aragon has earned a Bachelor’s in Business Management, a Master’s in Management, is a graduate of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) National Executive Institute, and is a Texas Master Peace Officer. He has served as a management consultant and criminal justice advisor for numerous municipalities, police agencies and educational institutions.

He is an avid runner, passionate about littering and dumping programs, and plans to bring a comprehensive Community Policing Program back to La Marque. He and his wife are moving back to Texas to assume this role.

Aragon’s seat will be filled in accordance with the provisions in the Truth or Consequences Municipal Code, section 2-29. It states: “Vacancies in the Commission, shall, by majority vote, be filled by the remaining Commissioners for the period intervening between the occurrence of the vacancy and the next regular election.”

Discussion of the vacant seat may be on the commission’s agenda as early as its next regular meeting on Oct. 13, according to the city clerk’s office. Aragon’s appointed successor will serve out the two years remaining on the seat’s four-year term. Mayor Pro Tem Amanda Forrister also has two years remaining on her term; the other three seats on the commission are up for election in November.

Aragon informed the high school of his planned resignation on Aug. 25, giving the required 30 days’ notice of his voluntary termination of employment. Today will be his last day at school, he said, and he will leave for La Marque, where he has been consulting since Aug. 25 primarily by phone, on Saturday.

Aragon told the Sun that he informed T or C City Manager Bruce Swingle of his intention of resigning from the city commission “about two and a half weeks ago.”

Early July 2 was the deadline for the Truth or Consequences City Commission to submit a resolution to the county clerk declaring the number of commission seats that would up for election in November. Such declarations must be officially filed no later than 120 days before an election, according to state law.

If Aragon’s planned departure had been made public in T or C when his negotiations with La Marque grew serious, the notification might have come in time to allow his seat to be declared open and the voters to elect his successor. Now, as events actually transpired, Forrister and lame ducks Paul Baca, Frances Luna and Sandra Whitehead (the three commissioners whose seats are open) get to decide who they want to represent the people of Truth or Consequences.


Diana Tittle is editor of the Sun.

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Understanding New Mexico's proposed new social studies standards for K-12 students

“The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.”
—National Council for the Social Studies 

Reader Michael L. Hayes of Las Cruces commented: What impresses me is that both the proposed standards and some of the criticisms of them are equally grotesque. I make this bold statement on the basis of my experience as a peripatetic high school and college English teacher for 45 years in many states with many students differing in race, religion, gender and socioeconomic background, and as a civic activist (PTA) in public education (My career, however, was as an independent consultant mainly in defense, energy and the environment.)

The proposed social studies standards are conceptually and instructionally flawed. For starters, a “performance standard” is not a standard at all; it is a task. Asking someone to explain something is not unlike asking someone to water the lawn. Nothing measures the performance, but without a measure, there is no standard. The teacher’s subjective judgment will be all that matters, and almost anything will count as satisfying a “performance standard,” even just trying. Students will be left to wonder “what is on the teacher’s mind?” or “have I sucked up enough.”

Four other quick criticisms of the performance standards. One, they are nearly unintelligible because they are written in jargon. PED’s use of jargon in a document intended for the public is worrisome. Bureaucrats often use jargon to confuse or conceal something uninformed, wrong or unworthy. As a result, most parents, some school board members and more than a few teachers do not understand them.

Two, the performance standards are so vague that they fail to define the education which teachers are supposed to teach, students are supposed to learn, and parents are supposed to understand. PED does not define words like “explain” or “describe” so that teachers can apply “standards” consistently and fairly. The standards do not indicate what teachers are supposed to know in order to teach or specify what students are supposed to learn. Supervisors cannot know whether teachers are teaching social studies well or poorly. The standards are so vague that the public, especially parents or guardians, cannot know the content of public education.

Three, many performance standards are simply unrealistic, especially at grade level. Under “Ethnic, Cultural and Identity Performance Standards”; then under “Diversity and Identity”; then under “Kindergarten,” one such standard is: “Identify how their family does things both the same as and different from how other people do things.” Do six-year-olds know how other people do things? Do they know whether these things are relevant to diversity and identity? Or another standard: “Describe their family history, culture, and past to current contributions of people in their main identity groups.” (A proficient writer would have hyphenated the compound adjective to avoid confusing the reader.) Do six-year-olds know so much about these things in relation to their “identity group”? Since teachers obviously do not teach them about these other people and have not taught them about these groups, why are these and similar items in the curriculum; or do teachers assign them to go home and collect this information?

Point four follows from “three”; some information relevant to some performance measures requires a disclosure of personal or family matters. The younger the students, the easier it is for teachers to invade their privacy and not only their privacy, but also the privacy of their parents or guardians, or neighbors, who may never be aware of these disclosures or not become aware of them until afterward. PED has no right to design a curriculum which requires teachers to ask students for information about themselves, parents or guardians, or neighbors, or puts teachers on the spot if the disclosures reveal criminal conduct. (Bill says Jeff’s father plays games in bed with his daughter. Lila says Angelo’s mother gives herself shots in the arm.) Since teacher-student communications have no legal protection to ensure privacy, those disclosures may become public accidentally or deliberately. The effect of these proposal standards is to turn New Mexico schools and teachers into investigative agents of the state and students into little informants or spies.

This PED proposal for social studies standards is a travesty of education despite its appeals to purportedly enlightened principles. It constitutes a clear and present danger to individual liberty and civil liberties. It should be repudiated; its development, investigated; its PED perpetrators, dismissed. No state curriculum should encourage or require the disclosure of private personal information.

I am equally outraged by the comments of some of T or C’s school board members: Christine LaFont and Julianne Stroup, two white Christian women, who belong to one of the larger minorities in America and assume white and Christian privileges. In different terms but for essentially the same reason, both oppose an education which includes lessons about historical events and trends, and social movements and developments, of other minorities. They object to the proposal for the new social studies standards because of its emphasis on individual and group identities not white or Christian. I am not going to reply with specific objections; they are too numerous and too pointed.

Ms. LaFont urges: “It’s better to address what’s similar with all Americans. It’s not good to differentiate.” Ms. Stroup adds: “Our country is not a racist country. We have to teach to respect each other. We have civil rights laws that protect everyone from discrimination. We need to teach civics, love and respect. We need to teach how to be color blind.”

Their desires for unity and homogeneity, and for mutual respect, are a contradiction and an impossibility. Aside from a shared citizenship, which implies acceptance of the Constitution, the rule of law and equality under the law, little else defines Americans. We are additionally defined by our race, religion, national origin, etc. So mutual respect requires individuals to respect others different from themselves. Disrespect desires blacks, Jews or Palestinians to assimilate or to suppress or conceal racial, religious or national origin aspects of their identity. The only people who want erasure of nonwhite, non-Christian, non-American origin aspects of identity are bigots. Ms. LaFont and Ms. Stroud want standards which, by stressing similarities and eliding differences, desire the erasure of such aspects. What they want will result in a social studies curriculum that enables white, Christian, native-born children to grow up to be bigots and all others to be their victims. This would be the academic equivalent of ethnic cleansing.


This postmortem of a case involving a 75-year-old women who went missing from her home in Hillsboro last September sheds light on the bounds of law enforcement’s capacity to respond, especially in large rural jurisdictions such as Sierra County, and underscores the critical role the public, as well as concerned family and friends, can play in assisting a missing person’s search.

Reader Jane Debrott of Hillsboro commented: Thank you for your article on the tragic loss of Betsey. I am a resident of Hillsboro, a friend of Rick and Betsey, and a member of H.E.L.P. The thing that most distresses me now, is the emphasis on Rick’s mis-naming of the color of their car. I fear that this fact will cause Rick to feel that if he had only gotten the facts right, Betsey may have been rescued before it was too late. The incident was a series of unavoidable events, out of everyone’s control, and we will never know what place the correct color of her car may have had in the outcome. It breaks my heart to think that Rick has had one more thing added to his “what ifs” concerning this incident.

Diana Tittle responded: Dear Jane, the Sun undertook this investigation at the request of a Hillsboro resident concerned about the town’s inability to mount a prompt, coordinated response to the disappearance of a neighbor. From the beginning, I shared your concern about how our findings might affect Betsy’s family and friends. After I completed my research and began writing, I weighed each detail I eventually chose to include against my desire to cause no pain and the public’s right to know about the strengths and limitations of law enforcement’s response and the public’s need to know about how to be of meaningful assistance.

There was information I withheld about the state police investigation and the recovery. But I decided to include the issue of the car’s color because the individuals who spotted Betsy’s car emphasized how its color had been key to their identification of it as the vehicle described in Betsy’s Silver Alert. Because the misinformation was corrected within a couple of hours, I also included in this story the following editorial comment meant to put the error in perspective: “The fact that law enforcement throughout the state was on the lookout in the crucial early hours after Betsy’s disappearance for an elderly woman driving a “light blue” instead of a “silver” Accord would, in retrospect, likely not have changed the outcome of the search” [emphasis added].

I would also point to the story’s overarching conclusion about the inadvisability of assigning blame for what happened: “In this case, a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances, many of them beyond human control, hindered the search that it would fall to Hamilton’s department to lead.”

It is my hope that any pain caused by my reporting will eventually be outweighed by its contribution to a better community understanding of what it will take in the future to mount a successful missing person’s search in rural Sierra County.

2 thoughts on “Hired for a Texas police post, Commissioner Randall Aragon announces resignation this week”

  1. A politician becomes a lame duck once it is known they will not be serving for another term. Whitehead and Baca are both running again, thus would not be considered lame ducks.

    1. I stand corrected. Oxford Languages online dictionary does offer a second definition for lame duck: “an ineffectual or unsuccessful person or thing.” But I guess I was thinking of the “McConnell Rule,” whereby officials who are up for election should not be permitted to make important, long-term appointments.

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