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  • Former PCSO Deputy arrested

    AUSTIN TYLER MCCRACKENMUGSHOT Austin Tyler McCracken

    From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

    A former Polk County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detective is in trouble with the law.

    Austin Tyler McCracken, 27, was arrested on Monday after a warrant for his arrest was issued. The charge was misuse of official information.

    On April 12, PCSO received a complaint in reference to possible improper conduct involving former Detective McCracken following a traffic stop. The complaint stated McCracken had sent unsolicited private social media messages to the female subject shortly after the traffic stop.

    Feeling uncomfortable regarding the nature of the communications, the female subject reported the matter to law enforcement and an internal investigation was started by the PCSO. McCracken was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

    On April 14, McCracken was terminated from employment by Chief Deputy Rickie Childers. McCracken immediately appealed the termination to Sheriff Byron Lyons.

    Prior to his appeal hearing with the sheriff, however, McCracken resigned from the Sheriff’s Office while under investigation. The criminal aspect of the investigation was reported to the Texas Rangers for an independent investigation.

    On Monday, McCracken was arrested and charged with misuse of official information, which is a third-degree felony. McCracken was booked into the Polk County Jail and given a $5,000 bond by Justice of the Peace Darrell Longino.

    Anyone having information regarding any other instances of possible improper conduct on the part of McCracken is encouraged to contact Texas Ranger Sgt. Ryan Clendenen at (936) 327-6836. Sheriff Lyons expressed that he expects his deputies to always adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and law enforcement ethics in their dealings with citizens.

  • Former Police Lieutenant indicted by Polk County grand jury

    400 moore070220MUGSHOT Gabriel Phillip Moore

    By PCN Staff

    A former Onalaska Police Lieutenant who was arrested in July of 2020 has been indicted by a Polk County grand jury.

    Gabriel Phillip Moore, 44, was indicted on the Class A misdemeanor offense of official oppression, which is punishable up to a year in the county jail and $4,000 fine.

    Moore was arrested by the Texas Rangers in July after they began an investigation in May of 2020. He was later released after posting a $2,000 bond. The Magnolia resident worked at various police agencies in Polk, Montgomery, Chambers, and Harris County since 2002.

    The victim spoke to the Enterprise in an exclusive interview, saying he sought assistance from
    the chain of command. When he believed no action was taken, he contacted the Texas Rangers.

    A few weeks after the arrest, Moore was fired from his position in a city council meeting and Onalaska Police Chief John Maddox was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. Maddox later resigned in August, submitting a letter to City of Onalaska officials.

    Reportedly, Moore inappropriately touched an officer on several occasions. The officer was under Moore’s supervision and new to the department.

    The lieutenant began to purchase items such as a ballistic vest, a polo shirt for work, handcuffs and clothes for the new officer, which the victim said could all be construed as helping a new employee with items needed for the job.

    After multiple attempts to put a halt to the advances and seek assistance within the chain of command, the victim decided to file a complaint with the Texas Rangers.

    The indictment handed down last week and filed in the 411th District Court of Polk County alleges that Moore, “while a public servant and acting under the color of his office or employment as a peace officer for the City of Onalaska, Texas intentionally subjected [the victim] to sexual harassment, to-wit: the defendant did then and there subject [the victim] to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which was made a term or condition of [the victim’s] exercise of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either expressly or implicitly.”

    The case, which is being prosecuted by Polk County District Attorney William Lee Hon, will be scheduled for arraignment before 411th District Judge John Wells in the coming weeks.

  • New officers take bite out of crime in Ivanhoe

    riley dogCHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Ivanhoe City Marshal Terry Riley with Yaya.

    By Chris Edwards

    IVANHOE – Much like the animated bloodhound in the 1980s named McGruff who reminded kids to “take a bite out of crime,” there are some canine law enforcers who are doing just that in Tyler County.

    According to Deputy Marshal Michael “Mike” King with the Ivanhoe Marshal’s Office, the three recently added canine deputies to the department’s ranks are “earning their kibble.” The canine deputies, named Yaya, Baby and Duke, have, in the short time they’ve been active on the streets, netted three felony charges for possession of controlled substances and one of the canines (Duke) is certified in explosives detection.

    Both Yaya and Baby are certified narcotics detection dogs and are the canine counterparts of Chief Marshal Terry Riley and King, respectively.

    The human officer counterparts (K9s) and the dogs both endure rigorous testing and training on an ongoing basis in order to protect and serve their communities. Along with narcotics detection and explosive identification, the dogs are also extremely useful in search-and-rescue operations and pursuing fleeing suspects.

    Riley and King also recently attended a canine first-aid course, which allows the dogs to be life-flighted by Hermann Memorial Life Flight if they are seriously injured in the line of duty.

    2PHOTO COURTESY OF IVANHOE MARSHAL’S OFFICE Ivanhoe Deputy Marshal Mike King with Baby.

    Yaya was obtained last November by Riley and trained by Ivanhoe resident Michael Hadnot. More recently, Warren resident and businessman Neil Alderman sponsored the narcotics training of Baby. Alderman said he learned during the last election cycle that there were no narcotics dogs working in the county, and said he wanted to ensure there were canine officers available to help out the different school districts in the county, along with other law enforcement agencies in tackling the drug issues facing the area.

    The Marshal’s Office reported that it has responded to 130 calls for service, assistance or criminal activity for each month since the beginning of the year, and the presence of the canine officers has helped immensely.

    Along with the canine officers, Riley recently added another officer to the department, longtime Tyler County lawman Jim Zachary, who will serve as a Deputy Marshal.

    Zachary recently retired from his post as Pct. 4 Constable, which his son, Zach, won in the last election. “With the addition of Deputy Zachary, the Marshal’s Office personnel has over a combined 100 years of law enforcement experience,” Riley said.

    The Marshal’s Office has also forged working relationship with other agencies, including the DEA Narcotics Task Force. According to King, although it is small in number, the Marshal’s Office of Ivanhoe is a full-service law enforcement agency capable of handling everything from traffic incidents to serious criminal violations, all on a small operating budget.

  • Possible homicide of Livingston man

    LE Flashing LightsFILE PHOTO - Law Enforcement flashing lights

    GOODRICH — The body of a Livingston teenager was found after a possible homicide in Goodrich Tuesday.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call Tuesday morning in reference to a deceased male found in an area off of FM 1988 East in Polk County.

    Sheriff’s office investigators, along with the Texas Rangers, responded to the scene on Lone Wolf Road. The scene was processed and evidence collected. Justice of the Peace Darrell Longino conducted the inquest and ordered for an autopsy to be performed by the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office.

    The victim has been identified as 19-year-old Brodrick Cooper of Livingston.

    According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation is continuing as a possible homicide. The body is said to have been recovered from the road. As of Tuesday, it is thought that an altercation occurred at the location.

    Friends on social media have messaged that Cooper died from a gunshot.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information please contact their office at 936-327-6810 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP.

  • San Jacinto County law enforcement think fast in July stop

    San Jac SheriffsCOURTESY PHOTO San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers (center) presented Life Saving Awards to Pct. 3 constable Sam Houston (far left), deputies Stephen Countz (second from left) and Jonathan Cortez (second from right), and Pct. 2 constable Ray Atchley for their bravery in a fiery rescue on July 23.

    From Staff Reports

    A quartet of San Jacinto County law enforcement officers were recently honored for their heroism and bravery during a traffic stop in July.

    San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers gave Life Saving awards to a pair of his deputies and two of the county’s constables for their fast action in saving the life of a suspect who was on the run from several law enforcement agencies. San Jac Sheriff’s deputies Jonathan Cortez and Stephen Countz, Pct. 2 constable Ray Atchley and Pct. 3 constable Sam Houston all received the life-awards.

    The suspect, who’s name was not released, had a known gang affiliation and was in pursuit of several agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Walker County Sheriff’s Office before he came into San Jacinto County while driving east on State Highway 150. The suspect was driving a stolen pickup truck and was suspected of human trafficking.

    The pursuit started in Montgomery County on IH-45 before traveling east on SH 150 through New Waverly and crossing into San Jacinto County. Once the pursuit reached San Jacinto County, the chase went on for 4-5 miles before the suspect lost control of the vehicle, which overturned and hit a tree before bursting into flames.

    Atchley and Cortez were first on the scene before Countz and Houston arrived, and the four officers devised a plan to get the suspect out of harm’s way and put the fire out of the vehicle. Countz held the suspect at gunpoint as he had a loaded weapon and Atchley, Cortez and Houston tried to open a door to the truck.

    As flames grew while waiting on nearby volunteer fire departments to arrive, Atchley jumped in his truck and turned it around Houston and Cortez, with great risk to their own personal safety, began to tie a tow strap to the door of the suspect’s truck as Atchley jerked the window section of the door away from the post so they could remove the suspect from the interior of the flaming inferno while Countz held cover for officer safety. All of this was performed in a matter of a few seconds as the fire then engulfed the interior of the truck.

    The suspect was taken to Conroe Regional Hospital for treatment before Homeland Security took him into custody.