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TCOLE to revoke 19 LCSO police academy graduate's licenses

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In a stunning move, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement announced they were revoking the licenses of 19 graduates of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Police Academy, citing failures that were serious and systemic. 

The graduates all participated in the 2022 academy facilitated by the LCSO through the College of the Mainland in Texas City. 

According to a letter from TCOLE to the College of the Mainland, an investigation was initiated following a complaint that a former academy student did not receive training or complete the Basic Peace Officer Course according to applicable standards. According to TCOLE, that investigation remains active at this time. 

The letter also sent to the LCSO suggests issues related to the curriculum and a lack of qualified instructors, among other issues. 

“Preliminary investigative findings corroborate that this BPOC (Basic Police Officer Course) was fundamentally inadequate in providing students with minimum state training requirements and course content, including a lack of lesson plans, learning objectives, course evaluations, enforcement of attendance, and training from qualified instructors.” 

Of those graduates, The Vindicator has learned that 11 are employed as police officers locally, with four employed by the LCSO as deputies and one as a jailer, three by the Dayton Police Department, two by the Liberty County Pct. 6 Constable’s Office and one by the Liberty Police Department.  

The Liberty Fire Department employs another pair of graduates. 

The agencies where the graduates have been employed have been aware of the investigation and appear to have received a courtesy to inform them of the decision earlier this week.  

Dayton Police Chief Derek Woods acknowledged that he had received word from the director of TCOLE that the 19 graduates' licenses were all in question. 

“According to the director, an investigation into the curriculum, hours of the academy, and record retention has all been in question,” Woods said. 

According to multiple sources, the officers in question will likely receive a letter this week informing them of the decision to revoke their licenses and the process of appealing the decision. 

“It is our understanding that should this action be taken, the officers can appeal this decision and have made plans to do so,” Woods noted. 

Pct. 6 Constable Zack Harkness, who employs two of the officers impacted by TCOLE, has the highest praise for his deputies, who he argues have performed with the utmost integrity and are trusted officers. 

“Our two graduates from the College of the Mainland's 2022 class have demonstrated exceptional commitment both on and off duty. As deputies, they have surpassed several hundred additional hours of training accredited by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) following their graduation from the academy,” Harkness said. 

According to Harkness, both deputies have retained legal counsel and will appeal the decision. 

“These deputies epitomize the essence of public service and community engagement, serving with honor, respect and devotion to duty,” he said. 

Woods remains supportive of his officers who were impacted by the decision. 

“It should be noted that the officers at the Dayton Police Department did pass their state-administered TCOLE licensing exam and have been employed for over a year and have completed a field training program with our department as well as multiple continuing education hours,” Woods said. 

Woods also told The Vindicator that the residents of Dayton can expect the highest quality law enforcement regardless of the situation's outcome. 

It was recently announced that the upcoming LCSO academy set to begin this month had been canceled.  

According to Mike Bell of the College of the Mainland, there are issues related to the academy's operation from two counties away. 

“There were various reasons. Logistics was the main reason,” Bell said. “It’s kind of hard to keep supervision over that.” 

This is a developing story, and you can keep up with updates by subscribing to The Vindicator at 936-336-3611 or online at