Dawson Police Force of One
Nicole McMahan
Dawson, Navarro County, Texas


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6/8/2005 Dawson adds police force of one


The rumors are true. Dawson is now the home of a one-person police department.

Since March 7, Dawson has been forming the police department, but the city has remained quiet until now, waiting to sign an interlocal agreement with the county for a retired sheriff’s office car. That agreement was signed recently. A radar unit has also been borrowed from the city of Hubbard until a radar unit can be purchased.

The lone officer, Nicole McMahan, Navarro County’s first female police chief, will patrol Dawson enforcing city ordinances after she attends a week long series of code enforcement classes June 13-17 and will be stopping cars speeding through Dawson on Highway 31 and Main and Gilmer Streets. Speeding on Main and Gilmer streets poses a threat to the children and pedestrians in the neighborhood, city officials said.

“We can pass all the city ordinances we want, but without someone to enforce them, they don’t do anything,” said Paula Sears, Dawson mayor.

McMahan is dually commissioned through Rice and Dawson. Her commission is possible through a new Texas law that allows officers to be dually commissioned, according to Sears.

“We’re very excited to have her on board,” Sears said. “She comes highly recommended through a background check.”

“I was very glad to see it passed,” said McMahan. “I’ll continue the same work I do in Rice, which is one day a week as a reserve. They require at least eight hours each week. I’ll be working here (in Dawson) full-time.”
McMahan is a property owner in Dawson and has two children enrolled in the Dawson Independent School District, Sears said.

“We wanted someone that was a part of the community,” she said.

According to McMahan, code enforcement kick-started everything.

“Over a year ago, I was appointed as the city’s code enforcer... I realized that many of the problems could be solved by having a police department,” she said.

The effects of having an officer policing the streets of Dawson are three-fold, Sears said.

“The first thing is with the code enforcement (and) Dawson will be a cleaner place,” she said. “People live in rural communities so that their kids can safely ride their bikes in the street. We have a lot of retired people that walk for health reasons.”

Also, Sears says that the law enforcement response time should be quicker.

“The county is stretched so thin that having a police department will help should any of our residents have a need for law enforcement,” she said.


Donell Williams may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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Originally published in the Corsicana Daily Sun
June 10, 2005

Reprinted with permission of the Corsicana Daily Sun
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