DPS employees, families recognized for outstanding efforts
AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission and DPS Director Steven McCraw today recognized several individuals for their outstanding efforts and bravery, including current DPS employees and the wives of two fallen troopers.
“This is a memorable day for our award recipients, their families and the entire department, and I am honored to join in recognizing their outstanding and in some cases heroic efforts,” said Director McCraw. “The people of Texas thank you for your courage, service and dedication to our state.”
The award recipients of the inaugural Javier Arana Jr. Top Trooper Competition were announced at today’s Public Safety Commission meeting. This award is given to the best performance by a male and female Trooper in a series of knowledge and skill tests. The male recipient was Trooper Jose Rodriguez, Highway Patrol in Denton, and the female recipient was Cpl. Veronica Garcia, Recruiting in Lubbock.
The Javier Arana Jr. Top Trooper Competition, which was held in February and March of 2012, involves job knowledge, physical fitness, firearms proficiency and pursuit driving. The award is named in honor of Trooper Javier Arana Jr., who was killed in a two-vehicle traffic crash in El Paso March 24. Arana’s wife and children attended the award ceremony.
The Commission also recognized Michaela Burns. Her husband, Trooper James Scott Burns, was shot and killed in April 2008 by a parolee. At this week’s Texas Board of Criminal Justice meeting, Burns was presented with the Pathfinder Award for her contribution and dedication to the welfare of victims. Burns has volunteered to speak at victim impact panels for audiences of paroled offenders in the Houston area.
“We are incredibly proud that the Arana and Burns families are part of the DPS family,” said Director McCraw. “We offer our prayers for continued strength and support for these families, and we will always honor the sacrifice and bravery of Troopers Arana and Burns.”
In addition, The 100 Club of Houston received a Director’s Award. In May of 2006, The 100 Club of Houston began providing “line of duty” death benefits for state law enforcement officers anywhere in Texas, including DPS troopers.
Five additional rewards were presented to the following DPS employees:
- Lt. Kevin James, Motor Carrier Bureau in Austin, was presented a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in a Llano County car wreck. James, a Trooper stationed in Llano County at the time, was on duty and traveling to Austin on July 17, 2006, when another car crossed into his lane of traffic, resulting in a head-on collision with his patrol car. The driver and passenger of the other vehicle were killed instantly; it was later determined that the driver was under the influence of drugs at the time of the wreck. James was air-transported to an Austin hospital for treatment of a compound fracture of his arm, a broken jaw and cracked ribs. He returned to full duty about six months later.
- Trooper Orlando Moreno, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement in San Antonio, received a Director’s Citation for his negotiating skills and action that helped save the life of a suicidal individual. Moreno was on patrol in Bexar County on December 13, 2011, when he noticed a woman sitting on the edge of the guardrail on an overpass on Loop 1604. First using his negotiating skills to engage the woman, he eventually maneuvered himself closer and was able to lunge and pull the woman back to safety.
- Security Officer Bertha Trevino, Capitol Complex in Austin, received a Director’s Citation when she intervened in a pit bull attack, enabling a man and his dog to retreat to safety. While walking off duty on July 14, 2011, she saw two large pit bulls attacking a man’s dog. Without regard for her safety, Trevino screamed and kicked the dogs repeatedly, ending the violent encounter and preventing further injury to the man and his pet.
- Lt. David Cabrera, Criminal Investigations Division in Eagle Pass, received a Life Saving Award for potentially saving the life of a woman at a restaurant. While on duty October 26, 2011, Trooper Cabrera noticed a commotion at a restaurant and determined that a woman was choking. He took quick action and applied the Heimlich Maneuver, dislodging food from the woman’s throat, averting serious injury or death.
Trooper Waylon Rogers, Highway Patrol in Jourdanton, received a Life Saving Award for dislodging food from a pregnant woman’s throat on Jan. 27, 2012. Rogers was on duty at a Pleasanton restaurant when he noticed a woman, whose face was turning blue, signaling for assistance. Performing the Heimlich Maneuver, he helped clear the woman’s airway, ending the life-threatening situation.