AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today presented four Lifesaving Awards, one Director’s Citation and two Unit CitationsDPS employees. Additionally, a Good Samaritan and a federal prosecutor received Director’s Awards.
“The awards we presented today represented Texas at its finest, from life-saving efforts to investigatory, prosecutorial and organizational excellence,” said Director McCraw. “These award recipients performed admirably with courage and dedication in varying situations, and we are proud to honor each and every one of them.”
The following awards were presented:
- Troopers Ernesto Mancillas, Texas Highway Patrol–McAllen; Arturo Leal, Texas Highway Patrol–McAllen; Alexiz Lopez, Texas Highway Patrol–McAllen; and Adam Madore, Texas Highway Patrol–Mission, each received a Lifesaving Award. On June 23, 2017, Trooper Mancillas was on patrol when a frantic male, bleeding profusely from his right wrist, approached the trooper’s patrol unit and requested an ambulance. Trooper Mancillas immediately called for an ambulance and then used the individual’s shirt to create a makeshift tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Troopers Lopez and Leal overheard the medical request and arrived to assist by applying an impromptu bandage and a tourniquet. Trooper Madore, who is a certified EMT equipped with a first aid medical bag, arrived and provided additional medical assistance on scene. EMS arrived and transported the subject to a trauma center.
- Jason Swindle, a Good Samaritan, received a Director’s Award. On May 1, 2017, a two-vehicle crash occurred in Johnson County. Both vehicles came to rest off of the roadway, and witnesses immediately stopped to assist and called 911. During this time, one of the vehicles caught fire. The driver and front passenger had incapacitating injuries and were trapped in the burning vehicle. Swindle, without regard for his own safety, grabbed his fire extinguisher, ran to the burning vehicle and extinguished the fire – helping save the lives of the occupants inside the car.
- P.J. Meitl, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Fort Worth, received a Director’s Award. Starting in February 2014, DPS Special Agents in Garland initiated “Operation Vanilla Ice,” a multi-agency investigation targeting violent, white supremacist prison gangs. Due to Meitl’s guidance, planning and preparation, dozens of defendants ultimately received a combined 1,070 years in federal prison. Meitl made vital contributions to reducing the impact of organized crime in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. According to federal prosecutors, this case was the largest prosecution in the nation’s history of individuals connected to violent, white supremacist gangs.
- Lieutenant Eric Wilson, Criminal Investigations Division–Garland, received a Director’s Citation. Lt. Wilson served as case agent and led the investigation for “Operation Vanilla Ice” (referenced above). Working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this DPS-led operation ultimately resulted in dozens of indictments in 2014 and 2015 against various white supremacist gangs operating in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, including high-ranking members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. The investigation resulted in approximately 90 convictions. Lt. Wilson and his fellow law enforcement officers also seized more than 900 kilograms of methamphetamine and 88 firearms/dangerous weapons. The defendants targeted in the operation had a combined 730 prior convictions, including murder, sex abuse/child offenses, drug convictions, and other violent offenses.
- The Recruiting Unit, of the DPS Education, Training and Research (ETR) Division, received a Unit Citation. Authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2015, the Recruiting Unit was tasked with providing the department with enough qualified Trooper candidates to fill 250 new Trooper positions. The Unit increased Trooper-trainee applications by expanding outreach to military installations. From Jan. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016, the Recruiting Unit successfully processed 19,254 applications, helping the ETR Division to successfully train and graduate 714 recruits, and fill the 250 new positions eight months ahead of schedule. The following DPS employees were recognized as part of the Unit Citation: Zelda (Dee) Carson, Annette Jackson, Lindsey Ott, Glenda Sosby, Cynthia Thomas, Captain Vicky Aguirre, Lieutenant Melvin Allick, Lieutenant William Kennard, Lieutenant Veronica Garcia, Sergeant Jose Chavarria, Sergeant Rey Alcantar, Sergeant Scott Auth, Sergeant Grant Belvin, Sergeant Sarah Cadan, Sergeant Wilbur Carter, Sergeant Eliseo Ceja, Sergeant Jaworski Crawford, Sergeant Clifford Drake, Sergeant Carl Davis, Sergeant Carlos Diaz, Sergeant Gary Durham, Sergeant Cynthia Fey, Sergeant Valerie Glasco, Sergeant Arminda Henke, Sergeant Maria Ramirez Loredo, Sergeant Angel Martinez, Sergeant Maria Martinez, Sergeant Paul Mooney, Sergeant Cory Outland, Sergeant Fernando Ruiz, Sergeant Desirae Salcido, Sergeant Andrew Smith, Sergeant Patrick Timms, Sergeant Octavio Ureste, Trooper Richard Barton, Trooper Omar Monrreal, Trooper Floyd Sanders, Trooper Dwayne Smith and Trooper Michael Wheless.
- Resource Guide Team–Driver License Division, of Austin, received a Unit Citation. From June 2015 to June 2017, the Resource Guide Team displayed superior initiative in identifying best practices and procedures, and organizational vision for creating an online, single-source reference tool used by employees to support standardization of business processes. The development of the interactive field manual for driver license employees, which included training videos, navigation aids, feedback tools for employees and a search engine – resulted in an exceptional contribution to the efficiency of the division. Stacy Robertson, Chris Sawyer, Heather Strawn, Michael Mendez, Elizabeth Roberts and Alexander Galarza were recognized as part of the Unit Citation.
- Wanda Lynds, Driver License Division–Austin, was recognized for 50 years of service with DPS. Recently retired, Lynds was also presented a $1,000 check by the Texas DPS Foundation.
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