Produced by DPS Public Information, (512) 424-2080
Commission names internal auditor
Farrell Walker has been named the new head of the Internal Audit Department.
Walker, a Certified Public Accountant with lengthy experience in state government comes to the DPS from the Health and Human Services Commission. He is a 1973 graduate of the University of North Texas at Denton.
"When people hear the word 'audit,' I think the first thing that comes to their mind is a nit-picking critic interested only in finding mistakes," Walker said. "But our Internal Audit function is about helping DPS management -- at all levels. We want to be seen as a partner in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of our operations, not as someone looking over people's shoulders to find fault."
Since joining the Department on August 1, Walker has been busy getting acquainted with the agency and meeting department heads. One of his initial projects will be working to implement action plans resulting from the agency's strategic planning efforts and looking at driver license issuance processes.
"I believe the DPS, as the state's premier law enforcement organization, should set the standard for other agencies in the efficient use of our sometimes limited resources," Walker said. "I intend to do all that I can to assist management in making that happen."
Texas traffic deaths decreased 6.2 percent in 1997
Traffic deaths decreased 6.2 percent in 1997 from 1996, according to final figures released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In 1997, 3,508 persons were killed in 3,079 traffic crashes throughout the state. The number of fatality crashes decreased 5.2 percent from 1996. Non-injury crashes increased 7.8 percent from 1996.
The drop in fatal crashes is encouraging, said Col. Dudley M. Thomas, director of the DPS.
"We're glad to see the decrease in the number of traffic fatalities, but we still have a long way to go," he said. "Texans need to remember to buckle their seatbelts to help them keep from becoming a statistic."
In 1997, 30.4 percent of all fatalities were the result of alcohol-related accidents, a 2.9 percent decrease over 1996. Alcohol-related fatalities in rural areas decreased by 16 percent from 1996.
"This may be an indication that the state's Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law is working very efficiently," Thomas said. ALR is a civil, administrative process unrelated to criminal court proceedings that revokes the licenses of drunk drivers.
There were no deathless days in 1997, and there was one accident in which six or more persons were killed.
Dear Fellow Employees:
Many of you have submitted suggestions for improvements in budgetary or managerial matters. That's great. Not so great: many of the suggestions have been anonymous.
When anonymous suggestions are submitted, we have no way of getting back to you to ask for additional information if needed, or to let you know how we're responding to your suggestion.
The General Manual states that all employees are encouraged to submit suggestions to the director. You will not be retaliated against for making any budgetary or managerial suggestions.
The manual also states that employees do not have to follow the chain of command to make suggestions.
Two of our troopers recently were injured seriously during "routine" traffic stops. Tr. Kevin Marmor, HP Pearsall, and Tr. IV Kenneth Rushing, L&W Conroe, both sustained serious injuries after being hit by vehicles not involved in the traffic stops. Please join me in wishing both of them a speedy recovery. Let's be careful out there.
Tr. Shannon Conklin, HP Kingsville, received a Director's Citation for outstanding drug interdiction efforts. During a one-year period, which included part of his initial probationary period, Conklin was responsible for confiscating $8.7 million worth of drug-related contraband. Included in that amount were more than two tons of marijuana, nearly 90 pounds of cocaine, $46,000 in cash, 16 vehicles and $20,000 dollars in stolen property. He also arrested a suspect in an attempted murder case.
Senior Tr. Jerry Byrd, HP Corpus Christi, received his second Director's Citation. In addition to criminal interdiction excellence, Byrd was recognized for sharing his years of knowledge and experience with new troopers. His hands-on teaching efforts are credited with the rapid development of numerous trooper graduates. His reputation has grown to the point that troopers seek him out to tap into his expertise. During a recent two-year period, Byrd himself was responsible for 41 drug courier arrests and the seizure of nearly $2.5 million in contraband.
Tr. Vincent T. Luciano, HP Corpus Christi, was recognized for 30 criminal interdiction cases involving the seizure of $1.6 million in marijuana, cocaine and U.S. currency. Only months out of the Academy, Luciano made an immediate impact on Texas highways. He's credited with the arrest of 41 drug couriers and the seizure of more than 1,300 pounds of marijuana, 3 pounds of cocaine and $142,000 in cash in 1997 alone.
Troopers Ruben Garcia and Stacy L. Holland received Director's Citations for stopping an armed suspect fleeing the scene of a traffic accident. The incident took place on I- 10 east of Van Horn. The suspect crashed his tractor-trailer rig several times into another tractor-trailer rig and attempted to drive the wrong way down the interstate. The man tried to run over the troopers, who opened fire in self defense. The man died from his wounds.
Training Academy Staff Lt. Mark Sassman was honored for his exceptional efforts in training future troopers at the DPS Academy in Austin. As Recruit School Coordinator, Sassman has helped prepare 855 graduating troopers in eight recruit schools since 1993.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford B. Stricklin of Plano was given a Director's Award for his prosecutorial efforts while assisting a Texas Ranger investigation into public corruption at the Lavon Police Department. The yearlong investigation involved narcotics trafficking activities by Lavon police officers, including a police lieutenant. Ranger Sgt. Alvin A. Alexis credits Stricklin's vigorous efforts for a guilty plea and long prison sentence.
Michael Harper received a Director's Award for his valiant efforts in pulling a man from a burning pick-up on the Dallas North Tollway. Harper was nominated by Trooper Herman Ward, who pointed out that Harper's actions averted certain death in a wreck that was probably caused by a wrong-way drunk driver. Moments after the victim was pulled from the vehicle, it was completely engulfed in flames.
Promotional exams set
Eligible candidates for the positions must submit application form HR-106 no later than Sept. 11.
Oral boards will be at 8 a.m., Oct. 6, for the Narcotics Service; at 8 a.m. Oct. 12 for the Highway Patrol; and at 8 a.m. Oct. 13 for the DL Division.
State charity campaign begins
The State Employee Charitable Campaign runs September 1 through October 31. The SECC is the annual fund-raiser for charitable organizations.
Beth Warren in the Public Information Office is the statewide coordinator and the local chair of the Austin-area DPS campaigns.
If you have any questions about SECC, please call her at 512-424-5639. Please consider making a donation to this worthy campaign.
Texas, Oklahoma sign CHL reciprocity agreement
Oklahomans with concealed handgun licenses issued by their home state now can legally carry concealed handguns in Texas, and vice versa.
A recently signed reciprocity agreement with the State of Oklahoma allows licensees to legally cross that state line with their con cealed handguns.
This reciprocity agreement - the second Texas has reached - was made possible by 1997 changes to the state's concealed handgun law. Texas also has a reciprocity agreement with Arkansas.
Before traveling, license holders should educate themselves about laws in other states that govern where and when they can legally carry their concealed handguns.
Volunteer firefighters eligible for paid state leave
State agencies and institutions of higher learning may grant paid leave to volunteer firefighters while they respond to emergency fire situations, if the agency has established policies for granting this leave time. In accordance with the Appropriations Act, the employee's sick leave or vacation time is not affected.
Sick Leave Pool donations
Enclosed in the September paychecks is a Sick Leave Pool donation form. There is no maximum number of hours that employees may donate, but donations must be in eight-hour increments. Employees who are retiring also can contribute their sick leave hours.
If you wish to contribute sick leave hours, please send the completed form to the Human Resources Bureau, Attn.: Sick Leave Pool Administrator, P. O. Box 4087, Austin TX 78773-0251
Relay Texas is available toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no restrictions on length or number of calls made by relay users. Local calls are free, and long distance calls are billed to the caller at a reduced rate. Relay Texas also offers Spanish language translation for relay users (either deaf or hearing). Call 1-800-676-3777, 1-800-949-4232 or fax 1-512-445-2096 for a Texas Relay information booklet.
New Public Information Officer
Director's Staff Promotions
Driver License Promotions
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