DPS Bids Farewell to Ranger Chief
Operation Drawbridge and life-saving efforts by investigator also recognized
AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC), Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw and Texas Gov. Rick Perry today honored retiring Texas Ranger Chief Hank Whitman after 22 years of service with DPS. At the same PSC meeting today, the Border Security Operations Center (BSOC) was honored for the groundbreaking border camera program known as Operation Drawbridge, and Criminal Investigations Agent Cabora Domingue received an award for saving the life of a fellow agent.
“Agent Domingue did what comes natural to DPS officers, coming to the aid of people in need and potentially saving a colleague’s life,” said Director McCraw. “The men and women of the BSOC and Operation Drawbridge help make Texas more secure by leveraging technology to monitor illegal activity along the border with Mexico and immediately alerting appropriate authorities to take enforcement action. Retiring Texas Ranger Chief Hank Whitman will be missed by the state of Texas. We are grateful for his service, integrity, passion, leadership and his contributions to the safety and security of all Texans during his distinguished career as a public servant.”
Gov. Perry personally thanked Chief Whitman for his service and presented the former U.S. Marine with a commission as an honorary admiral in the Texas Navy.
"For over 30 years, Hank has served his country and his state with the type of honor and professionalism that is expected of a Texas Ranger,” said Gov. Perry. “He is part of an elite group of individuals who put on a badge every day and selflessly commit to protecting the innocent from the evil. Anita and I will be forever grateful for his devotion to Texas and wish him well for an enjoyable retirement."
The following awards were presented today:
- Assistant Director/Texas Ranger Chief Hank Whitman received the first ever Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of his service as he retires. Whitman was instrumental in border security efforts, including the formation of the Texas Ranger Reconnaissance Teams. In addition to his service in the military, he was a Corpus Christi police officer for nine years before joining DPS in 1990. Whitman started as a Highway Patrol trooper, was promoted to criminal investigator and later to Texas Ranger, and eventually became the chief in charge of the Texas Rangers in 2011.
- The Border Security Operations Center (BSOC) received a Unit Citation for Operation Drawbridge, a network of cameras in strategic locations along the Texas-Mexico border region that provide real-time monitoring of areas not covered by conventional law enforcement. After a testing phase, full scale deployment of the cameras began in January 2012. Drawbridge has since gained nationwide recognition and has already resulted in the apprehension of thousands of individuals penetrating the Texas-Mexico border and the seizure of tons of marijuana so far this year. Staff Captain Aaron Grigsby, Mark Siebert, Joel Aud, Beth Bourne, Karin Guest, Kendra Miller, Anastasia Moore, Brandy Prinz, Joe Rivas, Jared Vandenheuvel, Lance Vaughn and members of the Texas State Guard were all recognized as part of the Unit Citation.
- Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Agent Cabora Domingue, El Paso, received a Life Saving Award for potentially saving the life of a fellow agent, who was choking during a meal. On May 23, four CID agents were dining in Lajitas when Agent Todd Hester started turning red and was unable to breathe. Agent Domingue quickly approached Agent Hester and applied the Heimlich Maneuver, which dislodged a food obstruction from Hester’s throat, restoring his airway and averting a possible life- threatening situation.