By Jan White
CROCKETT – On July 12, the Houston County Sheriff’s Office gave the oath of office to Kasey Ballard and Gordon Denman. These two were the first graduates from the newly created Houston County Sheriff’s Office Cadet Program.
Ballard, a dispatcher who had been with the office for over two years, and Denman, a jailer for two years and jail sergeant for one year, had expressed a desire to attend the law enforcement academy. But to do so would mean that they would resign their positions, lose their income, and upon completion, would be “up for grabs” from other agencies.
Because the Sheriff’s office had openings funded by their budget for deputies, they approached the Houston County Commissioner’s Court with the proposal to use some of their already-budgeted funds to start a Houston County Sheriff’s Office Cadet Program. The program would allow the Sheriff’s office to retain proven employees and fill the much-needed deputy positions. With the Court’s approval, Houston County will maintain a cadet program as long as there is a funded position. Candidates agree to a two-year commitment to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office to be considered for approval into the program.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) requires all candidates seeking to become peace officers to pass a comprehensive state licensing exam. The exam measures the candidate’s command of all the procedural and practical knowledge covered during the mandatory basic peace officer training course. Ballard and Denman had to complete and pass the Angelina College Law Enforcement Academy and the TCOLE exam.
HCSO has had other female deputies, but Ballard is the first to be explicitly hired as a patrol duty officer. Denman brings years of employee management skills to the position. Both have exhibited exemplary work ethics and dedication and have proven to be good candidates for the Cadet Program.
Houston County Sheriff, Randy Hargrove, congratulated the two in a Facebook post, stating, “Chief Deputy Roger Dickey and I are honored to have them both on our law enforcement team.”