DPS Director McCraw Issues Statement on Death of Retired DPS Chief Adolph Thomas

September 28, 2017

Chief Thomas 1994
Chief Thomas 1994

AUSTIN – Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today issued the following statement on the death of Adolph Thomas Sr., who retired from DPS as Chief of Staff Services in 1995. Chief Thomas was the first black Trooper in Texas, and he went on to have a distinguished 27-year career with the department, serving in a number of positions of great authority and responsibility.

“Texas has lost a true law enforcement professional. During his time with DPS, Chief Thomas broke through many glass ceilings because of his perseverance, hard work and education,” said Director McCraw. “He was known for his integrity, he led by example, and he promoted professionalism throughout his career.”

A Texas native, Chief Thomas joined the department in 1968. After graduating from recruit school and serving as a Texas Highway Patrolman, he promoted to Narcotics Agent in 1972. He continued to demonstrate his capabilities as a dedicated officer and leader, and he subsequently promoted to Narcotics Sergeant, then to Narcotics Lieutenant, and by 1988, he had promoted to Captain in the Narcotics Service. Chief Thomas became a recognized search and seizure expert witness in state and federal court, and was also well-known for his expertise in law enforcement policies and procedures; case preparation; undercover drug investigations; and a number of other key law enforcement disciplines. In 1991, Chief Thomas was promoted to Commander of the DPS Training Academy, and in 1993, was named Chief of Staff Services. In 1996, after his retirement, the Texas Senate recognized Chief Thomas’ 27 years of exemplary service with a Senate Resolution.

“It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Chief Thomas took that first step in 1968, and for nearly three decades, he blazed a trail that few will match but many have since proudly followed,” continued Director McCraw. “We are grateful for Chief Thomas’ many years of selfless service and sacrifice, and for protecting the people of this great state. We will continue to keep his family, friends and many colleagues in our prayers in the weeks and months to come.”

Chief Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the then-Southwest Texas State University, and he was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Southwest Legal Foundation. Chief Thomas held a Master Peace Officer Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. He also held an Advanced Instructor’s Certificate and participated in more than 2,500 hours of law enforcement education and training. Chief Thomas was a member of multiple professional law enforcement organizations and authored several publications on the Fourth Amendment – Search and Seizure.

Chief Thomas passed away on Sunday, Sept. 24. Services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 30, at Meadowlawn Funeral Home located at 5611 E. Houston Street in San Antonio, Texas.

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