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News Release

March 29, 2019

ICYMI: DPS Honors Bravery, Exceptional Efforts of Employees and Texans Alike

AUSTIN – Last month, the Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented 12 Lifesaving Awards and four Director’s Awards at the PSC meeting in Austin. Additionally, a Texas Ranger and a Driver License employee were recognized for their distinguished DPS careers with the William P. Clements Excellence Award.

“To have the opportunity to recognize the hard work and bravery of our commissioned officers, DPS staff members and the Texans who call this state home is a privilege, and we are proud of these men and women for their public service and their selflessness,” said Director McCraw. “Every day, these individuals make a difference in their communities and exemplify what it means to be great Texans.”

Watch a video with clips from the PSC meeting.

The William P. Clements Excellence Award is named in honor of the former governor and his commitment to excellence in government. Texas Ranger James B. Holland, Company B-Decatur, and Customer Service Representative Mary Ann Araiza, Driver License Division-Weslaco, each received a 2018William P. Clements Excellence Award. The award honors a commissioned and non-commissioned employee for their exceptional performance of duties throughout the course of their DPS careers.

Holland has been employed with the department for 23 years and has served the past 10 years as a Texas Ranger. He has been assigned to the Unsolved Crimes Program since 2015. In 2016, Holland provided assistance on eight cold case homicides. His efforts resulted in six of those cold cases being solved, the arrest of three confessed killers and the recovery of the remains of two young women who had been missing for nearly 20 years. In December 2017, the Florida Division on Law Enforcement requested that Holland interview a convicted murderer who was also suspected of committing a murder in Florida. The suspect was a career criminal suspected in multiple homicides who had never confessed to law enforcement officers. In May 2018, within hours of interviewing the suspect, Holland was able to elicit 26 murder confessions. Over the course of several months, he interviewed the suspect and obtained an additional 64 murder confessions for crimes that occurred in 19 states. As a result of these interviews, agencies across the country have been able to match cold case murders to this suspect’s confessions.

Araiza began her career in November 1991 as a Driver License Technician; in November 2012, she reclassified to a Customer Service Representative (CSR). Over the course of 26 years, she has volunteered for numerous additional duties and special projects. In 2015, after completing a two-week facilitator training class, she participated in a mass New Hire Training, where she creatively helped modify the 12-week curriculum, which included instrumental changes to make the learning process more engaging. She was selected by regional administration for the Employee Engagement Program, where she served as liaison from 2015-2016. As the liaison, she traveled throughout the South Texas Region to interview and talk with fellow CSRs about their work environment and career growth opportunities. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Regional Commander’s Award for exemplifying the highest levels of responsibility, creativity, determination, diligence, initiative and loyalty, while providing a positive influence on others.

The following awards were also presented:

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