A state commission has revoked the training license for employees of the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, forbidding the agency from providing any new or continued training for at least two years.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education revoked the sheriff’s office training contract after an investigation into the agency found the chief training coordinator falsified training hours for officers receiving continued education.
TCLEOSE is the state licensing organization for all public safety officers.
Sheriff Eddy Lange said he signed an agreement revoking the training contract Jan. 31 after he was told officials would seek to permanently eliminate the agency’s training academy otherwise.
TCLEOSE Executive Director and Chief Kim Vickers said the commission would have likely voted to permanently scrap the BCSO’s training academy if Lange had not signed the agreement.
“I think that they should feel lucky that we didn’t completely do away with it,” Vickers said. “This way they can get out from under it.”
Former BCSO Lt. Danny Kneese voluntarily surrendered his peace officer’s license after providing a statement to TCLEOSE in October, Vickers said. Kneese was a lieutenant in the county jail system but oversaw training for all deputies, Lange said.
The investigation found that Kneese fudged training hours for deputies performing training required by TCLEOSE to maintain their licenses.
“There were some credit hours given to some who did not sit to receive those hours nor did they participate in online courses,” Lange said.
Kneese also fell under the direct supervision of former deputies Charles Grogan and Mary Farley, who recently sued Lange for claiming they were forced out of the agency for supporting Lange’s rival during last year’s election.
Retired Sheriff Dan Smith was in office when the investigation began.
Vickers said Smith fully cooperated with the investigation. “We knew this was not anything that was part of his doing,” Vickers said.
Smith declined to comment for this article. The former sheriff also served as chairman of TCLEOSE for a time. He was replaced in 2007.