HUTTO, Texas - The Williamson County Sheriff’s training academy opened near Hutto a little more than a year ago.
The teardown and rebuild that’s taking place has nothing to do with the structure, but with the people inside. “The reality of it is, is that we had employees that behaved badly, the Sheriff took action against them, that’s done and that part is finished,” said Cheif Deputy Tim Ryle
Chief Deputy Ryle is in charge of the top to bottom reorganization.
The first step he says was to promote Lieutenant Kelli Bomer as the new academy commander. “She was in charge of the Academy years ago when it was a part-time Academy, training center years ago, so she has a lot of experience in that aspect she is a top-notch commander, and she has a good structure below her now with some new trainers in some very experienced trainers, both at the basic police Academy level and continual training, so I feel like we’re getting the components and place, the right people in place,” said Cheif Deputy Ryle
The changes come after a formal reprimand by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The agency issued a report citing the academy for grade fixing by a top Lieutenant, and for inappropriate comments made to cadets by a Sgt.
Both individuals had their training credentials revoked. The Sargent has resigned.
“It was very very troubling, very troubling time,” said Cheif Deputy Ryle
The TCOL investigation was launched after officers from Manor, Pflugerville, and Kyle voiced concerns about what they experienced as cadets.
Manor Police Chief Ryan Phipps Earlier this week told FOX 7’s Natalie Martinez that he was compelled to stand up for the officers.
“And I think that these outside agencies, the cadets that graduated, were cheated their real experience in the academy, their scores were not true, truly reflected against the other cadets, they were bullied and called names, and so I think they look back at it and see and experience that doesn’t bring back a sense of accomplishment,” said Chief Phipps.
The toughest part of this reboot may be the fence-mending that will have to be done with the local police departments.
The facility, in part, was built to help serve. And that’s going to involve a very big word. Trust. “We understand that, but the sheriff has reached out to those chiefs, as with everything else they are willing to give us an opportunity to try to mend those fences, and we will,” promised Cheif Deputy Ryle
Ryle says the sheriff is setting up an advisory committee, made up of local police chiefs to help oversee the rebuild at the academy. Getting their blessings will be critical to restarting the cadet classes early next year.