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Published on February 24, 2024
DPS Honors Officers with Prestigious Clements Awards, Lifesaving Recognitions at Austin CeremonySource: Texas Department of Public Safety

The Texas Department of Public Safety celebrated the courage and service of its officers with a series of awards at this month's Public Safety Commission meeting in Austin. The ceremony, held on Thursday, February 15, showcased the remarkable acts of bravery by DPS personnel, as they were honored with the William P. Clements Excellence Awards and numerous Lifesaving Awards, among others.

Highlighting the event were the prestigious William P. Clements Excellence Awards, given to Brenda Headrick of the Texas Ranger Division in Northwest Austin and Texas Ranger Juan Torrez of the El Paso division. Their careers, spanning decades, exemplify dedication to the force. "It’s important to honor the innovation, leadership and commitment of those who dedicate their lives to serving the people of this great state,” DPS Director Steven McCraw stressed to Texas Department of Public Safety.

Alongside the top honors, Trooper Diego Rodriguez earned a Lifesaving Award for administering Narcan to a man suffering a likely opioid overdose, according to DPS. His quick action after a traffic stop outside a Luling restaurant saved the man’s life. Technical Sergeants Joshua Kelly, Michael Benitez, Kenneth Haralson, and Andrews Hernandez also received Lifesaving Awards for their aid to migrants crossing the Rio Grande River in a life-threatening situation on November 11, 2023.

DPS employed a collaborative approach in their missions, with the Tactical Marine Unit and members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission receiving respective Lifesaving and Director’s Awards for a rescue operation of migrants at the Texas/Mexico border during a deployment in support of Operation Lone Star. This quick thinking by the joint force turned out to be crucial in preventing what could have easily become a tragedy.

The awards ceremony did not just honor frontline heroism. It also recognized behind-the-scenes efficiency and expertise in combatting sophisticated crimes. The Driver License Division’s vigilance led to the unveiling of a scheme involving about 3,900 fraudulent online accounts used to order duplicate driving licenses, with the Criminal Investigations Division’s Computer Information Technology and Electronic Crimes (CITEC) Unit playing a pivotal role in the operation. "After reviewing approximately 1.5 million Texas DL records, CITEC personnel identified approximately 5,100 victims of fraud," detailed the report by Department of Public Safety.

The event was not just about presenting awards, but also a reflection of DPS's commitment to honor those who go beyond to protect and serve. Director McCraw’s admiration for his team’s work reiterates that heroes walk among us, often wearing the badge of Texas DPS.