I submitted this piece to the San Marcos Daily Record last week for their submission deadline, hoping to get into the Sunday paper because today is the Anniversary of Rusty Windle’s death. I thought that maybe they were saving it to run tomorrow–the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death–but for reasons I can only assume, they refused to publish my letter.

Dear Editor,

How high is Director Stapp? The title of “director” is a little confusing. Especially to the public. There’re lots of “director” positions…Director of Public Relations, Director of Taco Relations, heck… I was once called “Director of the Student Success Center” which was a self-made title created by my predecessor that sounded way higher up than my actual “Coordinator for Department Recruiting” position that determined my pay grade. In my experience, “Director” is either legit or it’s something that starts with bull and rhymes with legit.

So what does “Director of Public Safety” mean in San Marcos? It turns out, it means a lot. It means he oversees not only the San Marcos Police Dept, but also Fire, Emergency Management, Municipal Court, AND Neighborhood Enhancement! This includes animal services, compliance, community enhancement & resource recovery, health and women, AND infant and children’s programs! You might wanna read that again. It’s a lot, right? Like…a lot a lot. How did he get so HIGH up and in control of so many aspects of our lives and our livelihoods in San Marcos, Texas? Part of his rise to power over our lives came by being promoted and rewarded for taking a life. He killed a 25-year-old young man at his own home, in the middle of the night. In the wee hours of May 24, 1999, dressed in black and under the cover of night, Stapp and his Narcotics Task Force engaged in a “marijuana sting” to attack Rusty Windle at his home for low-level possession of marijuana. Chase Stapp shot and killed him when he answered the front door. His superiors praised him, and they high-fived themselves in a press release that same afternoon for their excellent work in handling the “unchecked” marijuana trafficking. Naturally, Stapp got a promotion. He was promoted to assistant commander of the Narcotics Task Force. After killing Rusty 23 years ago, he received a promotion! And then another. And another. And another. Higher and higher, until the City Manager MADE UP a position for him. He was elevated even higher than Chief of Police! He oversees the health and safety of all of us because he killed a young man who gave some pot to a guy he thought was a disabled vet and needed it for medical purposes.

Rusty would be 48 today.

Still asking questions,
Kelly Stone