A witness has reported that they caught an Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy on tape speeding and recklessly passing vehicles in heavy Houston traffic on June 29.
According to an employee of The Examiner, he and his family were traveling down the highway toward Houston when they spotted the deputy in an Orange County K-9 Unit SUV. The employee followed the officer, who was reportedly traveling in excess of 90 mph at times, all the way from Anahuac to downtown Houston on Interstate 10.
“The guy was speeding, recklessly weaving in and out of traffic, and getting right up behind people to get them to move over so he could pass,” said the witness. “I was in the left lane, and he drives up on me, an officer, and it was intimidating. Most people saw the SUV and just moved out of the way seeing that it was a sheriff’s vehicle.”
The Examiner employee, who says he was concerned for the safety of drivers on the highway and about the fact that an officer was breaking the very laws he has promised to protect, called and reported the incident to OCSO Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson, who the witness described as “very concerned” by the allegation.
This reporter has since confirmed that Hodgkinson received the call from the complainant, and he says he takes the accusations very seriously. He said upon receiving the call from the concerned party, he immediately called the K-9 handler driving the SUV to address the issue.
“I can’t go into specifics because it’s a disciplinary issue,” Hodgkinson said regarding his conversation with the deputy, identified by OCSO as Corporal Russell Hall. “As far as my involvement with it is just a concern that we don’t want our officers doing anything that violates the law or in any way gives the perception that we think we can do things that the public can’t. We know we’ve got to hold ourselves to a higher standard. That was part of the conversation. I made sure the officer understood.”
According to Hodgkinson, OCSO recently hired Corporal Hall, a K-9 handler. One of the K-9 officers who served in excess of 10 years in law enforcement was retiring, and Hall was traveling to a dog training school in San Marcos to find a replacement for the highly trained animal.
“We teach and train our officers to always do the right thing,” said Hodgkinson. “We have a high standard and will hold each other accountable. If we discover that we made a mistake or one of our officers did something we don’t condone, I can assure you we will address it and correct it.”
Hodgkinson said he could not confirm the deputy’s actions until an investigation is complete, but as an administrator for OCSO he is going to follow up on the allegations. To see the full video visit youtu.be/IvQJluXh_hs.
Sharon Brooks can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at sharon [at] theexaminer [dot] com.