North Texas Sheriff Accused of Licensing Irregularities

A North Texas sheriff, his chief deputy and two other deputies are accused of tampering with records and computers after a state investigation of alleged licensing irregularities.

Hill County Sheriff Michael Cox, Chief Deputy Mark Wilson, Sheriff's Capt. Leroy Rodriguez and jailer Bryan Winget were named in arrest warrants sworn out by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which establishes and enforces Texas law enforcement standards. All turned themselves in Wednesday and were released on bond.

Cox's attorney, Peter Schulte, of Dallas, called the charges "laughable" and said the arrest warrants are "unfair" and were issued prematurely without submitting any evidence to a grand jury.

“This investigation was haphazardly done. The charges are laughable. They didn't let it go through a grand jury first," Schulte said, blaming them on the word of a disgruntled employee. "He has not been convicted of anything. He is innocent. He is going back to work.”

All four remain on the job.

Cox and Wilson are accused of coercing an office employee into take a licensing exam for Cox. Cox also is accused of ordering another office employee to falsely report to the Texas Commission of Jail Standards that jail inmates were seen at a downtown Hillsboro restaurant.

Wilson also is accused of signing and notarizing peace officer and county jailer applications without the sheriff's signature required by the state for a license.

Rodriguez is accused of providing his Commission on Law Enforcement username and password to Winget so the jailer could complete and submit a certification course. Winget also is charged in that case.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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