News Release

July 19, 2012

DPS Honors Those Committed to Protecting Children

FLDS investigation and new training to identify children in trouble recognized
AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today presented two Medals of Merit, a Unit Citation and three Director’s Awards to individuals who helped target those who prey on children. Texas Rangers and other law enforcement officers were honored for their efforts in the 2008 raid and subsequent investigation into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ (FLDS) Yearning for Zion Ranch in Schleicher County that resulted in multiple convictions for sexual assault of children.  Also, DPS Sgt. Derek Prestridge was honored for a groundbreaking program to teach patrol officers to identify missing and exploited children.

“The eyes of the nation were on Texas during the FLDS raid, and in the end, the rights of children to be free from sexual predators in Texas prevailed, and every defendant was convicted, including their ringleader, Warren Jeffs,” said Director McCraw. “Additionally, Sgt. Prestridge saw a need and filled a law enforcement void with a program to train officers to identify children in danger during traffic stops, including human trafficking.  It is a program that will continue to yield results and protect innocent children.”

### (HQ 2012-081)