The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw this week honored Justice Ada Brown for her service on the Public Safety Commission and recognized the newest PSC commissioner, Manny Flores Jr. Additionally, the PSC approved the appointment of Robert J. “Duke” Bodisch as the DPS Deputy Director of Homeland Security. The first executive director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Foundation, Emily Willeford Christy, was also recognized during the meeting. Two DPS employees were presented with the William P. Clements Leadership Award, and several others received commendations for their extraordinary efforts and service.
“Justice Brown’s dedicated service on the Texas Public Safety Commission has been invaluable, and her presence will be missed,” said PSC Chair Cynthia Leon. “Today’s recognition is just a small token of our appreciation as she continues to serve the citizen of Texas in her new position as justice of the 5th Court of Appeals.”
Justice Brown was designated an honorary Texas Ranger Captain, and received a number of other awards for her contributions and service to the Texas Public Safety Commission.
The PSC and DPS also welcomed the newest PSC member, Manny Flores, who was appointed to the commission by Gov. Perry on December 19, 2013. Commissioner Flores is CEO of LatinWorks. He is an advisory board member of Helping Hand Home for Children and the United Way of Greater Austin Community Board, and a volunteer for SafePlace. He is also past co-chair of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Celebrando Austin event, and a past member of the St. Michael’s Academy Board of Trustees. Commissioner Flores received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“We look forward to working with Commissioner Flores in the future and know that his contributions will be most beneficial to the mission and goals of our Department,” said Director McCraw.
In a separate announcement, Robert Bodisch was named DPS Deputy Director of Homeland Security, which includes the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security State Administrative Agency, as well as other agency functions. Since September 2009, Bodisch has served as the DPS chief of staff and assistant director of homeland security. Prior to joining DPS, he was the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. Bodisch began his law enforcement and criminal justice career in 1973, serving as lieutenant investigator with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office; chief investigator with the Texas Prosecutor Council; and senior criminal investigator with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. He is also former director of Education and Training for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. Bodisch served two tours of duty in Iraq working for the Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program. He earned an associate and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston, and a master’s degree in quality systems management.
Additionally during the PSC meeting, the Texas Department of Public Safety Foundation announced the selection of its first executive director, Emily Christy. In this role, Christy will lead the foundation in its effort to raise private funds to support DPS programs, recognize exemplary service and assist employees and their families in times of need.
The William P. Clements Leadership Award, named in honor of the former governor and his commitment to excellence in government, recognizes employees who display exceptional performance throughout their DPS career. The commissioned recipient was Ranger Steven Jeter, Texas Rangers Division in Huntsville, and the non-commissioned recipient was Paul Brown, systems analyst from the Information Technology (IT) Division in Austin.
Jeter began his DPS career in 1997 as a trooper stationed in Magnolia and later joined the Texas Ranger Division in 2008. In 2013 alone, he conducted more than 60 investigations, including five murders, nine sexual assault and five public corruption investigations, and he obtained confessions to 22 offenses, including four for murder. Jeter also is an instructor at the DPS Law Enforcement Training Academy, teaching recruits Crime Scene Investigation and Basic Criminal Investigations, and he routinely advises fellow Texas Rangers, other DPS divisions and outside agencies about crime scene investigation.
Brown began his DPS career as a database administrator in 2009. Throughout the years, he has been dedicated to ensuring DPS computer applications are available, efficient and reliable. Brown has repeatedly solved complex issues related to agency IT applications. He served as the lead architect for TxMap, DPS’ all-state, all-hazard geographic incident mapping software, and implemented changes that cut the initial load time for TxMap by 80 percent, allowing users to access essential data more quickly. In addition, Brown has been instrumental in creating a mapping library for the AMBER Alert program.
“The individuals we’re recognizing have gone above and beyond the call of duty, offering selfless service to the state of Texas while on the job or providing courageous assistance during an emergency,” said Director McCraw. “Their decisive actions and noble service have made this department a better organization and Texas a safer place.”
Additional awards were presented to the following DPS employees:
• Trooper Mario Garcia Jr., Highway Patrol in Brownsville, received a Life Saving Award for providing first aid in an emergency situation on November 10, 2013. While participating in secondary employment at the Austin Convention Center, Garcia responded to an emergency summons for assistance, and found an unresponsive woman who did not have a pulse and was not breathing. Garcia immediately began CPR, and continued until an Austin police officer arrived and administered shock treatment using a defibrillator, reviving her. Austin EMS subsequently arrived and transported the woman to a local hospital.
• The Polygraph Unit, Criminal Investigations Division (CID), received a Unit Citation for their outstanding performance and support of the DPS goals and mission. Since its inception as a dedicated unit in 2011, the CID Polygraph Unit has administered more than 1,400 felony crime polygraph examinations and solved numerous crimes – including 11 homicides, 140 sex offenses and 167 other felonies. The unit has administered screening polygraphs as part of the agency hiring process, ultimately disqualifying approximately 880 applicants. The unit has also trained personnel from 66 law enforcement agencies across the country. Those recognized as members of the unit include: Capt. Manuel Espinosa, Capt. Walt Goodson, Lt. Matt Hicks, Lt. Dennis Westerman, Lt. Brian Vaughan, Agent Gus Trevino, Agent Jerry Lesikar, Agent Daniel Scheel, Agent Matt Mull, Agent Derick Walker, Agent Andrew Hermes, Agent Billy McCloskey, Agent Timothy Upright, Agent Aaron Davis, Agent Bill Horton, Agent Albert Maldonado, Retired Agent Jules Peterson, Felicia Ruiz, and Sandra Evans.