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Polk County Enterprise - Local News

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County officers win top ETPOA honors


NACOGDOCHES -- Two members of the Polk County Sheriff's Department were recognized Monday with top awards from the East Texas Peace Officer's Association. Deputy Josh Sanders was presented the ETPOA Outstanding Peace Officer Award for his bravery under fire during a March 7 incident while Capt. Brent Phillips was the recipient of the ETPOA Leadership Award. Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack, who serves as the second vice president of the association, presented the awards to the men. In receiving his award, Sanders was cited for an incident that began at 8:35 a.m. March 7, while he was on patrol. He was assigned to respond to a call for assistance in the Holiday Lakes Estates subdivision near Goodrich Sanders responded to the residence which was occupied by one adult man, two adult women and three small toddler-age children. The complainants had received information that an estranged ex-boyfriend was coming over to the residence and had been told not to. The ex-boyfriend also was reported to have threatened violence when he arrived. The deputy had completed his investigation at the residence and was about to leave when the suspect arrived and pulled in behind Sanders' patrol vehicle. When the deputy attempted to approach the suspect, the suspect opened fire. Sanders took cover in front of his patrol vehicle and began returning fire. Gunfire between Sanders and the suspect continued for minutes. During this time. The deputy was not able to contact the sheriff's dispatcher through his handheld radio and initiated contact by cellular telephone and Bluetooth. Sanders remained on the telephone with dispatch during the shooting incident when the suspect pulled away from the residence. The deputy gave chase in his heavily damaged patrol vehicle and when the suspect attempted to return to the original residence, Sanders continued to follow. With Sanders in pursuit, the suspect continued to flee in his vehicle away from the residence. The suspect's vehicle approached the entrance of the subdivision where his vehicle collided with Sanders' vehicle. Sanders was able to take cover and prevent the suspect from fleeing until more deputies could arrive and take him into custody. "Deputy Sanders held the line on March 7, 2017, standing between six innocent victims and their impending assault or possibly death. Deputy Sanders pursued this suspect and was able to take him into custody while using enormous restraint," according to a statement issued by the sheriff's office following his ETPOA award. Phillips, who serves as the administrator for the Polk County Jail, was honored by the ETPOA for his years of service to law enforcement in East Texas. The captain, whose career spans three decades, began working with the Trinity County Sheriff's Office in 1985, working his way up through the ranks until he was elected to the post of sheriff. Phillips served as sheriff for 11 years in Trinity County as well as served on numerous civic organization's board of directors, many of which emphasized helping youth and raising funds for their education. His work with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has benefited youth from across this state with millions of dollars in scholarships. In 2005, Phillips came to work for the Polk County Sheriff's Office, as the jail administrator. He helped oversee construction of the $19 million jail and law enforcement center and currently supervises a staff of 57 full and part time employees. Phillips also is the immediate past president of the Texas Jail Association where he has been an advocate for the training and education of jail and law enforcement staff.


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