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About TCSO

We are a family of highly trained professionals whose mission is to provide innovative law enforcement and correctional services in a holistic manner through collaborative partnerships.

Our vision is a strong bond with our diverse community; that they are confident in our compassion, approachability, competence, and trustworthiness.

Values

Trust - An Honor That Must Be Earned

Trust is the backbone of our relationships with each other and with the community we serve. Trust is a choice that is made, then proven by behavior. It stands the test of time and requires us to cultivate its characteristics: integrity, reliability, fairness, and sincerity.

Community - Our Strength Is In Our Relationship

We serve one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. We are committed to working together with residents from all walks of life for the safety and success of each and every neighborhood.

Security - It Is Fundamental For the Quality of Life

Maintaining a balance between safety, the rule of law, and the rights of individuals makes us approachable. Both on the street and in our facilities, we will provide an environment for employees, the public and those in our custody that is safe and dignified.

Openness - A Foundation We Can Build On

We are all real people with dreams, opinions, passions and flaws. We all seek to achieve and climb higher than we are. Through partnerships, collaboration and open communication we embrace new ideas that propel us forward. We strive to offer the kind of work and living environment that fosters honesty and protects the rights of all.

History

Travis County, named for Alamo commander William Barrett Travis, was created on January 25, 1840. Originally part of Bastrop County, Travis covered 40,000 square miles and was later divided into 14 separate counties. The population of the city was 629 and the population of the county was 3,138 citizens and 2,063 slaves. The first Sheriff was elected on March 14, 1840, and won by six votes. Since that time, 32 men and two women have served as Sheriff. Originally, the terms were one year (1840 - 1846) and then two years (1847 - 1956). As of 1957, the Travis County Sheriff serves four-year terms. The Sheriff was responsible for all law enforcement in the county until the city of Austin created its own police department in 1851.

In 1847, Travis County Commissioners authorized the construction of a county jail. The jail was built under contract with local Mormons for a cost of $1,800. It was a small double-log building constructed on the Old Courthouse block, located on the 4th block west of Congress Ave., between Guadalupe St. and San Antonio St., West 3rd and 4th streets.

The first jail was destroyed by fire in 1855 and a second courthouse and jail facility was built in 1856 at the same location. The following is a description of the jail taken from county records of the time: "The courthouse and jail are to be of brick, 50’ x 70’ wide and 20‘ high. The jail is to have two walls, the outer of brick and the inner of dungeon stones, and four feet thick, 16’ x 16’. Mr. Jones is to receive $16,000 for the completion of said building. He is an energetic man and proposes to finish the structure in time for the fall court. The jail was often referred to as ‘The Black Hole Calcutta.’ It was not uncommon to have as many as 34 prisoners in the jail at one time.” This courthouse and jail facility was razed in 1906.

Travis County obtained the property for the next location through a 99-year lease with the State of Texas. Located at 11th St. and Congress Ave., the property belonged to the Texas Game Fish and Oyster Commission. The courthouse was moved to 11th St. and Congress Ave., with the jail being located at 11th and Brazos St. The jail was 50’ x 60’, built-in one large room enclosed with 2’ walls made of solid hard stone. The jailer’s residence was connected to the jail by means of a long corridor. The 24 cells were two stories in height, and each cell was 8’ x 10.’ By a novel patent lever arrangement, all of the cell doors could be closed and shut by the jailer without coming into contact with the prisoners. The jail, jailer’s residence, and courthouse cost $200,000 and was financed by a local property tax increase and a state-approved bond election.

In 1931, the State of Texas gave Travis County land in exchange for breaking its 99-year lease for the courthouse and jail facilities. As a result, Travis County built what still functions as our county courthouse today. At a cost of $1 million, the courthouse was considered a “state of the art” facility at the time of construction. The new courthouse building also housed the jail on the 6th and 7th floors, with capacity for 100 inmates. In 1950, the courthouse was expanded at a cost of $225,000, and the jail capacity was increased to 250 inmates. A lawsuit filed in 1972, Musgrove vs. Frank, stated that a jail above a county courthouse was unconstitutional. This lawsuit eventually resulted in the closure of the courthouse jail on July 3, 1990.

In 1978, a jail bond issue was passed, and plans began for a new jail which was scheduled to open between 1981 and 1982 in the Criminal Justice Complex. However, a series of design and operational problems ensued that resulted in litigation between Travis County and the architects and contractors. The county won its lawsuit and the jail finally opened in July 1986 with a capacity of 267 inmates. The original estimate to construct the jail was $13 million, but due to the delays, the final cost was $20 million. Because of overcrowding, a minimum-security jail facility was built in Del Valle, Texas, with an original capacity of 96 inmates at a cost of $1.4 million. Now known as the Travis County Correctional Complex, the facility has grown to more than 26 buildings which sit on 130 acres. There are 8 security buildings that house up to 2,300 inmates, Building 12 holds 1,200 of that total.

Memorials

Korzilius

On March 18, 2020, at approximately 6:05 am, Senior Deputy Christopher Korzilius #5467, who was assigned to the TCSO Vice Unit at the time of his passing, was traveling to his office at the East Command in his unmarked TCSO vehicle. Korzilius was traveling east on the 7700 block of FM 2244 when another vehicle collided with his vehicle.

The driver of the other vehicle was operating their vehicle at a high rate of speed while traveling west on FM 2244. The driver veered their vehicle left, crossed over the center median, and into the eastbound lanes of travel. The vehicle collided head-on with Korzilius’s vehicle causing his vehicle to flip over a guardrail and down an embankment, where it came to a rest on its roof.

TCSO patrol units responded to the incident location, and after a short search, located Korzilius’s vehicle. Firefighters extricated him and attempted life-saving measures, but Korzilius succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Korzilius was a beloved member of the TCSO family, and his memory will inspire all of us forever.

Hollis

On September 17, 2014, Senior Deputy Sheriff Jessica Hollis was assigned to work the midnight patrol shift in southwest Travis County. She was driving Unit 3213, a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria. Before midnight, the area that Hollis was patrolling was hit with torrential rains; estimated at 4” an hour which caused flash flooding.

On September 18, 2014, at 1:52 am, Hollis radioed from her patrol unit that she was on Fritz Hughes Rd. and her vehicle had been taken by the water. Seconds later using her handheld radio, she radioed that she believed she was over the bridge and was trying to get to a tree.

TCSO patrol units were dispatched to the Bear Creek low water crossing, located at the 3400 block of Fritz Hughes Park Rd. At that time, deputies observed over a foot of swift water rushing over the roadway. Hollis's nearly submerged patrol unit was found minutes later resting on a large boulder in the creek. The rainfall subsided and deputies verified that Hollis wasn’t in her unit. The vehicle's key was in the on position, the front passenger window was open and windshield wipers had stopped in the up position.

Additional resources from TCSO continued to arrive, along with other local departments. Ground search teams searched both sides of the creek to the mouth of Lake Austin located ½ mile away. Dive Teams from TCSO and the Austin Police Department searched Lake Austin.

On September 19, 2014, search efforts continued from 6:00 am until 1:55 pm when Hollis was located in Lake Austin just south of Bear Creek. She was located floating face down in 8’ of water, 7’1” below the surface. TCSO Dive Team members brought Hollis to the bank where she was carried to a level area. Austin Travis County Emergency Medical Services pronounced Hollis deceased at 2:35 pm.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death as drowning and manner of death accidental.

Ruiz

On the night of February 15, 2001, Senior Deputy Keith Ruiz, a 13-year TCSO veteran, was assisting other TCSO deputies in the execution of a narcotics search and arrest warrant at a private residence in the Del Valle area of Southeast Travis County.

Ruiz was assigned to breach the front door of the residence along with his partner when the suspect in the investigation began firing pistol shots through the door at the entry team. Ruiz was struck in the upper arm just below his tactical vest.

Team members returned fire at the suspect, wounding Ruiz’s assailant and allowing deputies to arrest the suspect. Ruiz was mortally wounded and died a short time later at Brackenridge Hospital. The gunman stood trial, was convicted of Capital Murder, and sentenced to life in prison.

Lacey

On the evening of February 18, 1981, Deputy Charles “Chuck” Lacey, a U.S. Marine, Vietnam War Veteran, five-year Austin Police Officer and four-year veteran of TCSO, was patrolling an area of Southeast Travis County near U.S. Highway 183 and Burleson Rd. when he noticed a suspicious parked vehicle.

Unbeknownst to Lacey, the suspect, in this case, had just kidnapped an Austin woman at gunpoint, forced her into her car, and then drove her to the roadside area where he was in the act of sexually assaulting the woman when Lacey pulled in behind the vehicle to investigate.

As Lacey approached the vehicle, the suspect fired one shot with a .357 Derringer; the bullet struck Lacey in the throat and rendered him unconscious. Passing motorists stopped and administered life-saving first aid. As a result of the shooting, Lacey suffered paralysis from his neck down.

Lacey’s assailant was apprehended, stood trial, was convicted of Attempted Capital Murder and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Throughout the next 18 months, Lacey underwent numerous medical procedures. He never recovered from his paralysis and died from wound complications in November 1982.

Berry & Eckert

On the morning of February 1, 1967, Deputy Benjamin Berry and his partner and cousin, Deputy Walter Eckert, were attempting to execute a felony warrant in north-central Austin. The suspect named in the warrant had locked himself in a rear bedroom of the home and refused to surrender.

The suspect fired in excess of 20 rounds from an M-1.30 cal carbine at the two deputies. Berry was shot through the heart and died at the scene. Eckert was seriously wounded in his lower leg but was able to return fire, striking the suspect in the hand which ended the gun battle. While bleeding to death, Eckert was able to crawl to a nearby residence for help.

As a result of the shooting, Eckert’s injuries were so egregious that they ended his law enforcement career. His wounds continued to cause extreme difficulty and he died from wound complications in 1975.

After a massive search, the suspect in this case was captured in a field off of Springdale Rd. The suspect stood trial and was sentenced to life in prison. Berry’s killer served only nine years in prison before being paroled.

Duncan

Deputy Lemuel Duncan had been a deputy sheriff for only 29 days when he was killed on the night of September 23, 1911. He was at home asleep in south Travis County when he was awakened by the sound of gunshots coming from the nearby Little South Austin Saloon. The saloon was located on South Congress Ave. near West Mary St.

Duncan responded to the scene and was met by the suspect leaving the bar, armed with a rifle. Duncan tried to apprehend the fleeing suspect who the bartender had witnessed the shooting and killing the bar owner. The suspect used his rifle as a club and struck Duncan in the head causing him to fall to the ground. The suspect then disarmed Duncan of his revolver and shot him through the heart, killing him. The suspect fled into what is now Westlake Hills. The next day, an Austin City Marshal captured the suspect. He stood trial and was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison for the murder of the bar owner.

In a miscarriage of justice, the suspect was never tried for the murder of Duncan. Although sentenced to 99 years, he served only 13 years before receiving a pardon by infamous Governor “Pa” Ferguson, hours before he was forcibly removed from office by the Texas Rangers.

Moore

During the early morning hours of November 10, 1887, Deputy Maurice “Morris” Moore was shot and killed while serving a civil paper on the McNeil brothers in the Eanes area of western Travis County.

During an arson investigation of the Eanes Schoolhouse, Moore discovered that the McNeil brothers had written a letter to the Travis County Sheriff confessing to the schoolhouse arson and expressing their desire to surrender. In this letter, the McNeils warned the Sheriff not to send Moore as they would kill him if he tried to apprehend them.

Moore (a former Texas Ranger), married to the Eanes schoolteacher who was the victim of the arson, by happenstance intercepted this letter. He took this warning as a threat and a personal challenge. Moore and an Austin City Marshal embarked into the mountain country, as it was called then, to arrest the McNeil brothers with a “Writ of Attachment.” The two lawmen camped overnight. Early the next morning, the two deputies approached the McNeil cabin and tried to gain entry. Old Man McNeil held the deputies at bay with a rifle.

During the standoff, the Austin Marshal tried to disarm Old Man McNeil while Moore tried to enter the cabin. A shotgun blast from behind the door cut Moore down and he died instantly.

In 1905, a man, Thomas Young, believed to have assisted in Moore’s murder was hanged in Georgetown, TX for the brutal torture killing of a 15-year-old girl. Before his execution (the last public Texas hanging), Young was asked to clear up the matter of Moore’s murder as he was a suspect. Young did not confirm nor deny killing Moore. No arrest was ever made in the case.

Past Sheriffs

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Wayne Barton
March 14, 1840 - Feb. 27, 1841

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A.C. McFarlane
Feb. 27, 1841 - Oct. 30, 1841

Sheriff Charles F. King

Charles F. King
Oct. 30, 1841; April 8, 1843 - Oct. 21, 1844

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James H. Matthews
Oct. 21, 1844 - late 1845 or Feb. 18, 1846
(exact dates are unclear in the State Election Register)

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C.C. Hornsby
1845;(unknown if he was elected or appointed)

Sheriff Charles F King

Charles F. King
Feb. 4, 1846 - July 13, 1846

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James H. Matthews
July 13, 1846 - Aug. 5, 1850

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Harvey Smith
Aug. 5, 1850 - December 1850

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Thomas C. Collins
December 1850 - October 1851

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George W. Scott
Oct. 4, 1851 - March 1855

Sheriff John T. Price

John T. Price
March 3, 1855 - March 1857

Sheriff Adolphus G. Weir

Adolfus Y. Weir
March 9, 1857 - March 1858

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J. M. Blackwell
March 29, 1858 - Aug. 6, 1860

Sheriff John T. Price

John T. Price
Aug. 6, 1860 - Oct. 12, 1861

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Thomas C. Collins
Oct. 12, 1861 - June 25, 1866

Sheriff George B. Zimplemann

George B. Zimplemann
June 25, 1866 - Nov. 1, 1867

Sheriff Radcliff Platt

Radcliff Platt
Nov. 1, 1867 - Dec. 3, 1869

Sheriff George B. Zimplemann

George B. Zimplemann
Dec. 3, 1869 - Feb.15, 1876

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Dennis Corwin
Feb. 15, 1876 - Nov. 2, 1880

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Ed Creary
Nov. 2, 1880 - Nov. 7, 1882

Sherifff Malcom Hornsby

Malcom Hornsby
Nov. 7, 1882 - Nov. 6, 1888

Sheriff Robert E. White

Robert E. White
Nov. 6, 1888 - Nov. 6, 1900

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J. M. Davis
Nov. 6, 1900 - Nov. 4, 1902

Sheriff George S. Matthews

George S. Matthews
Nov. 4, 1902 - Nov. 2, 1920

Sheriff W. D. Miller

W. D. Miller
Nov. 2, 1920 - Jan. 27, 1927

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Horace E. Burleson
Nov. 2, 1926 - Nov. 1, 1929

Sheriff Coley C. White

Coley C. White
Nov. 6, 1929 - Dec. 31, 1932

Sheriff Lee O. Allen

Lee O. Allen
Jan. 1, 1933 - Dec. 31, 1939

Sheriff Jim McCoy

Jim McCoy
Appointed in 1940 and served until 1941

Sheriff H.W. "Rip" Collins

H. W. “Rip” Collins
Jan. 1, 1942 - Dec. 31, 1948

Sheriff Ernest Best

Ernest Best
Jan. 1, 1949 - Dec. 31, 1952

Sheriff T.O. Lang

T. O. Lang
Jan. 1, 1953 - Dec. 31, 1972
(longest serving Sheriff in Travis County history)

Sheriff Raymond Frank

Raymond Frank
Jan. 1, 1973 - Dec. 31, 1980

Sheriff Doyne Bailey

Doyne Bailey
Jan. 1, 1981 - July 1992

Sheriff Dan T. Richards

Dan T. Richards
Appointed July 1992;
served until November 1992

Sheriff Terrence (Terry) M. Keel

Terrence (Terry) M. Keel
Jan. 1, 1993 - Dec. 31, 1995

Sheriff Margo Frasier

Margo Frasier
Jan. 1, 1996 - Dec. 31, 2004
(first female sheriff in Travis County history)

Sheriff Greg Hamilton

Greg Hamilton
Jan. 1, 2005 - Dec. 31, 2016

 

 

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