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Fallen trooper recalled

August 17, 2012

Troy Hogue, a native son of Big Spring and DPS trooper, may be gone, but he is far from forgotten.

That message became apparent again and again during Thursday morning's ceremony to name the newly constructed law enforcement the Troy M. Hogue Joint Law Enforcement, which will soon house both the Big Spring Police Department and the Howard County Sheriff's Department under one roof.

And, as if a testament to the solidarity shown in recent years between these two Howard County law enforcement agencies, it was an emotion display of the men — both local and statewide — who came together to honor the fallen DPS trooper who left such an obvious and lasting impression on each of them.

“Police Chief Lonnie Smith and I both had the chance to work with Troy while we were at the police department together,” Sheriff Stan Parker said. “When I was going through the field training program I kept having all of my training officers tell me when I got out I had better hope I didn't have to work for Troy because he was tough. So I sort of dreaded that all the way through. Then I got my assignment and Troy was my sergeant. I had to work for Troy and he was one of the toughest to work for, however, in reality, Troy wasn't the toughest guy to work for.

“I'll tell you, I wouldn't be here today as sheriff if it hadn't been for what Troy did for me. He taught me second best wasn't good enough and just getting by wasn't good enough. We went out and did our job and provided customer service and we did it the right way. I owe a lot of my law enforcement career to Troy because he never accepted second best. I appreciate that. To his family, I appreciate that. But that's the kind of person Troy was. I'm very honored to stand here today because I know if Troy were here I know he'd be proud of what we're doing. This is just a great way to honor him.”

Hogue began his career in law enforcement with the BSPD, spending a decade with the local agency. In 1988, he became a DPS trooper. He was shot and killed in December of 1994 while conducting an accident investigation on Interstate Highway 20 in Howard County.

Few in the Department of Public Safety knew Hogue the way his partner and friend, Jim Lasater, knew the Howard County native. Lasater described his former partner as a quite, somewhat competitive man who always had time for his friends and family.

“This is awesome,” Lasater said. “I worked with Troy as his partner for six years and we had a ball the whole time. He loved what he was doing and he was very, very good at it. His uniform was straight, his boots were polished and he was courteous and professional to the people he met. He could also grab a crook by the nape of the neck and drag him to jail, if that's what it took. He was kind and gentle with the children. He was just an awesome person to work with.

“I also think Troy would be a little bit embarrassed by all of this. He was kind of a private person, a lot like his dad. He liked to stay in the background. However, the work and effort he put out was always recognized somewhere. After he was killed we received some letters at the DPS office, just from random people he had stopped, complimenting his professionalism. He wasn't afraid to cry with a parent who lost a child. He was a great guy.”

During his time at the BSPD — and again, while serving with DPS — local resident Mike Dawson, who currently serves as the administrative director of the Howard County Detention Center, said Hogue left a lasting impression on the lives he touched each day.

“I worked with Troy at the police department. We started there in the early 1970s and he was always available to help, especially those who needed training,” Dawson said. “When he left the police department and went to DPS he was a driving instructor. I'm willing to bet many of you out here rode with him and he loved to drive fast and he knew how to drive fast. He was also an excellent marksman and loved to teach it. He loved to teach. There aren't many of us left who worked with him at the police department ... I also worked with him at DPS.

“There are two words that described Troy, perseverance and collaboration. He knew how to get the job done, whether it was a case he was working as a detective or the perseverance to convince a prosecutor to take a case to a jury. He was well respected in the community, a home grown kid who wanted to be in law enforcement and loved every minute of it.”

DPS Regional Commander Carey Matthews, who also spent time with Hogue during his employment with DPS, called the fallen law enforcement officer's legacy a testament to responsibility and honor.

“He and I were classmates in recruit school. Troy was not only a friend, but a mentor to me and others who were in recruit school with him,” Matthews said. “He was stationed in Big Spring, which happened to be his home town ... Troy was a man of courage, a man of conviction, a proud trooper and a great Texan. He was a dedicated Christian and he was a man who was devoted to his family.

“Throughout his career he displayed great character, teamwork and integrity, which separates someone who is just doing their job from someone who accepts and respects the incredible responsibility and honor that comes with being a law enforcement officer. He took great pride in fulfilling those responsibilities and keeping his community safe. His commitment to protecting the lives of others cost him his own. There's no greater sacrifice than that.”

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