The new Bastrop County Sheriff brings an impressive list of achievements to his job, with more than 50 years in law enforcement. Maurice Cook has dedicated his life to being a public servant.
At 17 years old, he joined the United States Air Force as a law enforcement official with service in Vietnam. Since then, he hasn't stopped working. Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook has done it all over the past 50 years, and his career is still not over.
"In the Houston area, I was in three different police departments. Went to DPS and was a trooper with intelligence in motor vehicle theft. Then I became a ranger. I spent 23 years as a Texas Ranger, rode up through the ranks as the chief of the Texas Rangers," says Sheriff Maurice Cook, Bastrop County Sheriff's Office.
After retiring, he became a faculty member at Alvin Community College. Cook was the director of law enforcement training for the police academy and other criminal justice training. After 13 years, he retired from that. Then he went to law school there and got his law degree. Cook is currently a licensed attorney. He also testifies as an expert witness in use-of-force cases and other law enforcement related cases. Recently, he won the race for Bastrop County Sheriff.
"I'm not through using my experience and background. The state of Texas has got a lot of money invested in me through their training. Quite honestly, when I went to law school, I went with the Hazlewood Act so taxpayers paid for that. I just feel like I still have a lot of energy and good health. I think I've got something to give back to the voters and people of Bastrop County. That's what I intend to do," says Sheriff Cook.
On November 16th, Cook was sworn in. Since then, he has attended "new sheriff school" in San Marcos and has been trying to learn day-to-day operations. With all that Cook has seen throughout his career, he says the recent homicides in Del Valle does not come as a shock.
"Well no, because sometimes they run in cycles. It just seems that everything does that. When I was in a small East Texas town of St. Augustine and my responsibility was in Center, Texas, if you know where they are, they're real small towns. I had two capital murder cases going on at the same time. I had one in St. Augustine and one in Center and they hadn't had a capital murder there in years," says Sheriff Cook.
As sheriff, he has set up a 100-day plan for himself. He wants to make sure he knows what's going on within the community.
"I think one of my long-suits is coordinating and working with other agencies because I'm not worried about who's going to get the credit, I want to see that the case is solved," says Sheriff Cook.
Cook believes strongly about community involvement. He says treating the public respectfully and courteously is a requirement of his administration.