Remembering the colonel
by BOB BOWMAN
Sep 30, 2012 | 824 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
  Every time I pass through the tiny settlement of Kickapoo in Anderson County, I am invariably reminded of the colonel--not the one with the chicken--but a man who revolutionized law enforcement in Texas.

        Colonel Homer Garrison, Jr., had one of the most recognized law enforcement careers in the U.S., culminating with his leadership of the Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

        Born at Kickapoo, Garrison graduated from Lufkin High School and went to work for his father, who was then District Clerk of Angelina County. He took his first job as a law officer at nineteen, when he was appointed a county deputy sheriff.

        His father admonished him for taking the job, telling him: “Son, you’ll never amount to anything in that dead-end job.”

        But 1929, Garrison became a state license and weight inspector for the Texas Highway Department and joined the Texas Highway Patrol when it was organized in 1930.      

        When the Department of Public Safety was founded in 1935, Garrison became the first assistant director and was appointed director in 1938.              

        During World War II, he was offered an appointment by General Douglas McArthur to reorganize the Japanese national police system, but declined in deference to his Texas job.

        When FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was stricken with a serious illness, President Dwight Eisenhower considered Garrison as his replacement. But Hoover recovered and Garrison stayed in Texas.

        When Garrison died in 1968, the Texas Rangers and the Department of Public Safety were entrenched as one of the most efficient police organizations in America.

        During his lifetime, Garrison always remembered his Lufkin roots and visited here often. A brother, Pitser H. Garrison, served as Lufkin’s mayor for eighteen years.

       

        (Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of over 50 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)

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