AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today presented Director’s Citations and Life Saving Awards to DPS employees for their extraordinary service. In addition, a sheriff’s deputy and civilian received accolades for their bravery and service to the state.
“I am honored to recognize these individuals who have exhibited outstanding bravery and commitment to their communities. This is a proud day for these recipients, their families and the agency,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The state of Texas thanks you for your selfless dedication and courage.”
Director McCraw and the Public Safety Commission also presented a Memorial Cross to Martha Long in honor of her late husband Trooper Sammy Long, who was shot and killed during a 1976 traffic stop.
“Texas Highway Patrolman Sammy Charles Long committed his career to protecting and serving Texas residents, and he paid the ultimate price for that dedication,” said Director McCraw. “Today DPS honors that sacrifice and thanks the Long family for their continued strength.”
The following awards were presented today:
Trooper Frank Casares, Highway Patrol in Colorado City, received a Director’s Citation for his actions during a vehicle pursuit and apprehension of three dangerous suspects. On Jan. 21, 2013, Casares stopped a speeding vehicle on I-20 near Colorado City when an occupant of the car began shooting, and a vehicle pursuit ensued. Although the three suspects were able to evade police, tips led investigators to a residence where the trio was hiding. A 10-hour standoff ultimately ended with the DPS SWAT team arresting the suspects, who were identified as career criminals and Oklahoma gang members wanted in connection with a bank robbery and several homicides there. Casares’ actions saved his own life and prevented additional violence.
Trooper Janell Roy, Highway Patrol in Austin, received a Director’s Citation for her off-duty response to an apartment fire. On May 17, 2013, Roy heard a fire alarm go off at her apartment complex and observed an elderly neighbor in an apartment filled with smoke. Upon seeing the neighbor go back into her apartment, Roy ran after the woman and subsequently carried her to safety before firefighters arrived to battle the flames. Despite Roy’s valiant efforts, the woman died from her injuries two weeks later.
Sgt. Scott Hamilton and Sgt. Matthew Laselva, Texas Rangers Division SWAT, each received the Life Saving Award for helping save the life of a crash victim. While traveling on U.S. Highway 79 near the Leon-Robertson county line on May 13, 2013, Hamilton and Laselva encountered a motorcycle crash and victim along the roadway. The victim’s hand and leg were nearly amputated, and he had several compound fractures. Hamilton and Laselva applied tourniquets to the victim’s limbs, ultimately saving his life.
Deputy Alex Monroe, Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, received the Director’s Citation for his response to an April 26, 2013, multi-vehicle crash on I-10 in Gillespie Country. Upon arrival at the scene, Monroe encountered a victim with severe leg injuries who was bleeding profusely. Monroe administered first aid and applied a makeshift tourniquet to the man’s leg until EMS personnel arrived. The man was later identified as an off-duty Pasadena Police Department officer who, while assisting victims during the initial crash, was subsequently hit by another vehicle.
William Banks received a Certificate of Appreciation for his Feb. 16, 2013, assistance in uncovering underwater evidence vital to an investigation. While conducting research related to his Dive Master certification, Banks located motorcycles below the Loop 360 bridge and ultimately contacted DPS to organize an exploratory dive in the area. The ensuing investigation recovered 15 stolen motorcycles and three metal safes, which was vital evidence in a series of cases.
Martha Long received a Memorial Cross in honor of her late husband Trooper Sammy Long, who was killed in the line of duty. On Nov. 21, 1976, Long attempted to stop a speeding pickup on U.S. Highway 67 outside of Rankin. The driver of the truck refused to pull over resulting in a high-speed chase through Rankin and continuing several more miles. The driver eventually pulled over, exited the truck and immediately began shooting, striking Long in the arm. As Long sought cover at the rear of his patrol car, he was shot several more times. It was later discovered that the driver was AWOL from the Navy and wanted for the armed robbery of an Arizona gas station.