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Agustin Dovalina

20 bytes removed, 04:30, 13 May 2017
'''Agustin I. Dovalina, III''' (born 1955), is a former [[chief of police]] in [[Laredo, Texas|Laredo]], a border city with [[Mexico]] and the seat of Webb County in south [[Texas]], who served from 1996 until October 22, 2007, amid the revelation of corrupt practices in his department. Four days after his sudden retirement, Dovalina pleaded guilty in [[U.S. District Court]] to [[extortion]] and the acceptance of $13,000 in [[bribe]]s from the owner of a [[gambling]] establishment.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://woai.com/news/state/story.aspx?content_id=0df39dab-eee5-4f1c-890e-4... - 43k|title=Dovalina pleads guilty as police chief in Laredo|publisher=WOAI Radio in [[San Antonio]]|accessdate=May 12, 2017}}</ref>
Dovalina conspired with retired Sergeant Alfonso Santos and former Lieutenant Eloy Rodriguez to extort more than $90,000 from the operators of illegal eight-liner gambling businesses in exchange for protection from police raids.<ref>"Chief guilty of taking bribes, ''Laredo Morning Times'', October 26, 2007, p. 1.</ref> Octavio Salinas, II, the [[attorney]] for Dovalina, blamed the crime on a "financial crisis" which prompted the former chief "into a moment where he lacked judgment." Dovalina actually had a family income approaching $200,000 annually, very large by most standards in Laredo. Meanwhile, Dovalina had a [[heart attack]] and was involved in four fender-bender accidents in his police vehicle, two of which netted tickets. Then, his house burned, and a daughter suffered smoke inhalation. In July 2006, Dovalina underwent an emergency balloon [[angioplasty]] to clear a clogged [[artery]] and restore blood flow. According to court documents, Dovalina accepted his first bribe in June 2006, a month prior to his surgery; he took the second $5,000 bribe in September 2006. Dovalina, however, has disputed the amount of the bribes that he admitted to having received. So has Santos, who contends that he received $27,800 for himself and $10,000 for Dovalina, not the $95,000 claimed by the government. Santos and Rodriguez also competed for illegal funds and influence with Dovalina. Rodriguez also claims that he gave Dovalina another $10,000, but Dovalina disputes both of his former associates. The acceptance of the bribes was recorded on [[videotape]].<ref>Julian Aguilar, "Just the facts: Documents show Dovalina's alleged hardship did not exist", ''Laredo Morning Times'', November 25, 2007, pp. 1, 11A</ref>
==Background==
Dovalina is descended from a pioneer family which established Laredo in 1755. He is a cousin of former Laredo City Manager Lazaro "Larry" Dovalina]] (born 1947) and former Laredo Community College president Ramon Humberto Dovalina, Sr. (born 1943). The son of Mr. and Mrs. Agustin Dovalina, Jr., Dovalina graduated in 1973 from Martin High School in Laredo, at which he was a talented band member. He then attended the [[University of Texas at Austin]] from 1973 to 1976, having studied music education. Dovalina was the baritone section leader for the UT marching band and was a member of the university's jazz and wind ensembles as well as the Austin Symphony. He was a member of two [[Roman Catholic]] church choirs.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.lmtonline.com/site/news.asp?brd=2290|author=Ashley Richards|title= The Rise and Fall of a Police Chief|publisher=''Laredo Morning Times''|date=November 11, 2007|page=1, 14A}}</ref>
Dovalina left UT to become a municipal bridge toll collector on the [[Rio Grande]] border. On August 7, 1978, he became a city patrolman. According to records in his personnel file released through the ''Laredo Morning Times,'' Dovalina scored the highest among his peers on a lieutenant eligibility test in 1989 and was hence promoted to that rank. While at the police department, he attended the former Laredo Junior College from 1990 to 1992, at which he earned an associate's degree in law enforcement. He continued his police education in 1994 at the [[University of Virginia]] in [[Charlottesville, Virginia|Charlottesville]] and subsequently graduated from the [[Federal Bureau of Investigation]] National Academy. He earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in criminal justice from [[Texas A&M International University]] in Laredo. He also taught occasionally on an adjunct basis at Laredo Community College.<ref>{{cite web|url= http://www.cityoflaredo/policenew/index/chiefdovalina/chiefsbio.htm|author=Ashley Richards|title=The Rise and Fall of a Police Chief|publisher=''Laredo Morning Times''|date=November 11, 2007|page=1, 14A}}</ref>
Dovalina is a master Mason. His wife, the former Mucia Castillo (born 1959), has been the public relations representative for the [[U.S. Customs]] and [[Border Patrol]]. The two met while both worked at the Laredo Police Department. According to a copy of a ''Laredo Morning Times'' article in Dovalina's personnel file, Mucia said that Dovalina proposed to her three months after they met. The couple has five children: Monica (born 1977), Sunshine (born 1981), Kristyn (born 1984), Chelsea (born 1989), and Agustin, IV (born 1994).<ref>Ashley Richards, "The Rise and Fall of a Police Chief", ''Laredo Morning Times'', November 11, 2007, pp. 1, 14A.</ref>
==Accomplishments as police chief==
In 2006, Chief Dovalina received a favorable annual evaluation from the city manager, his direct supervisor. He procured high marks for exceeding standards in all areas. Then Deputy City Manager Cynthia Collazo (succeeded by City Manager Carlos Villarreal, who has since left that positioin) wrote that Dovalina "fosters ethical practices and accountability throughout the department and the organization." However, in 1998, then City Manager Florencio Peña ranked Dovalina below standard in regard to quality and quantity of work, dependability, communication skills, and interpersonal relations. Peña also chastised Dovalina for failure to have communicated regularly with city management. Dovalina issued a rebuttal in which he claimed that he had "submitted numerous reports to [Peña] via inter-office mail that somehow have gotten 'mysteriously misplaced' and have never arrived at their destination." The letter stressed too that Peña had opposed Dovalina's selection as chief: The appointment "was literally shoved down your throat by [the city] council. As a result, there exists a perceived aura of mistrust and suspicious overtones to the point that I feel that as my boss you would do anything to discredit my work in order to make me look bad in the eyes of council." When Peña was replaced by Larry Dovalina in 2001, a cousin of Agustin Dovalina, the chief's problems with the city manager's office abruptly ended.<ref>Ashley Richards, "The Rise and Fall of a Police Chief", ''Laredo Morning Times'', November 11, 2007, pp. 1, 14A.</ref> Larry Dovalina was dismissed by the city council in 2006, on a 5-4 roll call, with then Mayor Raul G. Salinas casting the tie-breaking vote. Former Mayor [[Betty Flores]], who has emerged as a principal defender of Dovalina, her fellow [[Democratic Party (United States)|Democrat]],<ref>Dovalina voted in the 2006 Democratic primary, according to the Webb County Election Administrator's office</ref> said that Peña never mentioned to her any problems that he had encountered with Dovalina.
Dovalina modernized the department. In 1999, officers received [[radio]]s in their patrol cars. In 2006, Dovalina unveiled a digital 800-megahertz radio system that shields access to criminals and the public. Dovalina proved adept and procuring funding at the state and national levels for departmental operations, having obtained additional patrol cars to replace older vehicles which were frequently in the garage for repair. He purchased mobile data terminals and dash cameras for police vehicles. In 2005, he started Laredo's own bomb squad. Previously, the city shut down an area and waited for a squad from [[San Antonio]] to come to defuse the situation. Dovalina was chief when Laredo's Special Weapons And Tactics division received a major upgrade, with the purchase of a mobile command center. The department was fully computerized.<ref>Ashley Richards, "The Rise and Fall of a Police Chief", ''Laredo Morning Times'', November 11, 2007, pp. 1, 14A.</ref>
Numerous letters to the editor of the ''Laredo Morning Times'' at the time of his retirement and guilty plea were hostile to Dovalina.
Dovalina's immediate retirement preserved his pension and one-time payment for accrued leave time. With nearly thirty years of service, Dovalina will gross $86,895 in leave time. Sergeant Santos received $41,900 in leave time; Lieutenant Rodriguez, $27,350. Dovalina will receive received $70.85 per hour for 720 hours of sick leave and 480 hours of annual leave. Ironically, the City of Laredo must had to dip into its fund balance to pay the trio the unbudgeted these amounts. Dovalina and Santos also receive monthly retirement checks, but Rodriguez did not meet eligibility for a city pension.<ref> Ashley Richards, "Chief cashes in: City has to dip into reserves to pay him $86,000+", ''Laredo Morning Times'', November 15, 2007, pp. 1, 15A.</ref>
Dovalina was sentenced to prison by District Judge George P. Kazen of Laredo. He was released after three years confinement by the Bureau of Prisons on November 16, 2010.<ref>{{cite web|url=https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/|title=Find an Inmate: Agustin Dovalina|publisher=Bureau of Prisons|accessdate=May 12, 2017}}</ref>
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