Austin, Texas (KMSS) — The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented a Director’s Citation and Medal of Merit to two DPS employees, and a Director’s Award to the Lubbock Fire Chief for their outstanding service to the public and state of Texas.
“I am honored to recognize these men for their incredible commitment to the state of Texas – whether through law enforcement or civic achievement,” said Director McCraw. “Their perseverance and dedication is a testament to the finest tradition of public service and the Texas Department of Public Safety.”
In addition, former Commissioner Allan Polunsky was named an honorary Texas Ranger Captain in recognition for his more than six years of service on the PSC.
“Commissioner Polunsky’s esteemed service to the Texas Public Safety Commission, including four years as chair, has been invaluable,” said PSC Chair Cynthia Leon. “Presenting him with this honor is just a small gesture of gratitude for his selfless commitment to this department.”
Today, the PSC also welcomed its newest member, Commissioner Steven Mach, who is vice president and CFO of Mach Industrial Group in Houston. Commissioner Mach was appointed last week by Gov. Perry to serve on the PSC.
The following awards were presented today:
Sgt. Bryan Henry, Highway Patrol in Crockett (previously in Lufkin), received a Director’s Citation for his help in the apprehension of a serial killer. On March 12, 2012, Sgt. Henry received information about an Alaska kidnapping case, indicating that the suspect might be in or near Shepherd, Texas. Sgt. Henry determined the likely make and model of the suspect’s car after researching photos, and he began searching for the vehicle during his patrols that day. On March 13, Sgt. Henry located a vehicle matching the car’s description at a local hotel and eventually stopped the driver for a minor traffic violation. The suspect, Israel Keyes, was subsequently arrested and later confessed to multiple murders and other crimes. The Texas Rangers were also instrumental in the investigation. Keyes later committed suicide in an Alaska jail.
Cpl. John Gonzalez, Highway Patrol in Lubbock, received a Medal of Merit for helping establish the Lubbock Regional Public Safety Memorial. In 2000, Gonzalez and Chief Mike Kemp, of the Lubbock Fire Department, began the long process of establishing the memorial. Throughout the years, the men researched possible costs, studied grant options, organized fundraisers and secured donations to create the memorial, which was unveiled Sept. 11, 2013. In recognition of his commitment and work to make the memorial a reality, Chief Kemp received the Director’s Award.
In addition to presenting the above awards, Director McCraw received the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director’s Service to the Homeland Award. The award, one of ICE’s most prestigious honors, recognizes non-ICE personnel who have exhibited exceptional cooperation and dedication in collaborating with ICE and other federal law enforcement organizations, ICE stakeholders and the community, promoting ICE initiatives, and/or improving inter-governmental programs and relations.
Assistant Director Tom Ruocco, Criminal Investigations Division, received the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Law Enforcement Information Sharing Outstanding Achiever Award. This DHS award recognizes an individual from the Law Enforcement Information Sharing Community who has made exemplary and recognizable achievements that support the growth and increased understanding and promotion of the law enforcement information sharing message.