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Former Wichita Falls police chief takes Plainview job

Chief Ken Coughlin.....former Wichita Falls chief becomes top cop in Plainview.
Chief Ken Coughlin.....former Wichita Falls chief becomes top cop in Plainview.
Plainview newspaper

Former Wichita Falls Chief of Police Ken Coughlin accepted an offer to become chief of the Plainview, Texas Police Dept., according to an article in yesterday's (Thurs., Feb. 27) Wichita Falls Times Record News newspaper. Coughlin has worked in real estate since he left the Wichita Falls Police Dept.

Coughlin, 58, worked for the WFPD for 22 years before resigning in 2005. He served in several positions of responsibility with the Wichita Falls department before serving five years as chief.

Coughlin said it would be tough leaving all the friends he has in Wichita Falls, but that he missed being in law enforcement.

He supervised the investigation of the Micheal Gowan serial rapist case in the 1990s which resulted in three life sentences. Because of the extreme publicity surrounding the case, the trial had to be moved to Abilene for the lengthy jury trial. Gowan is currently serving a life sentence in the Texas prison system. An unsuccessful escape attempt led to more time being tacked onto his sentence.

DNA, carpet fiber and fingerprint evidence was collected by investigators under Coughlin's supervision during the investigation. The city was covered by a blanket of fear as several young females were abducted from their bedrooms and other locations before being sexually assaulted.

The case was prosecuted by the Wichita County District Attorney's Office after Coughlin's team of officers collected a mountain of evidence from crime scenes on Lindale Street, Denver and a rural location adjoining Wichita Falls. When the Public Defender's office filed a motion for change of venue, the District Attorney's Office agreed out of a sense of fairness and the case was moved to Abilene where citizens had not heard publicity surrounding the case.

Coughlin will start his job as chief of the Plainview police force in March following a vote by the Plainview city council this last Tuesday approving him, according to the My Plainview newspaper. He is a native of Hartfod, Conn. and later graduated from Southwest Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Tex. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

Several Plainview officials reportedly said they were sure Coughlin would do an excellent job for their citizens. He was one of 40 applicants for the job.

He will supervise 58 employees including 34 sworn officers in Plainview.

Coughlin said he'd visited Plainview several times and the people were always friendly to him.

Coughlin served the citizens of Wichita Falls well for more than two decades in law enforcement. Citizens of Plainview will benefit in the future from his strong leadership qualities.

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