Longtime arm of the law

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Al Key/DRC
Sgt. Roger Griggs, shown in front of the Denton County Enforcement Center, is retiring later this month after 20 years with the Sheriff’s Office.
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Sgt. Griggs, retiring from county, joined police force at age 19

From working gory crime scenes to protecting the president of the United States, Sgt. Roger Griggs has been a part of it all.

Griggs, 61, is retiring from the Denton County Sheriff’s Office later this month after nearly 30 years in law enforcement, 20 of those with the county.

“I will miss the people ... friends, associates, and mostly, helping the people,” Griggs said. “And doing what I do now, the Crime Stoppers program.”

Known locally as the “Denton County Crime Stoppers guy,” Griggs said that when then-Sheriff Benny Parkey initially offered him the job, he didn’t want it.

Soon after coming on board with the program in 2005, Griggs said he really started to enjoy helping other agencies and keeping the streets safer.

“I am proud to say I am part of such a successful program,” he said.

With Crime Stoppers, people can make anonymous tips via phone, text message or e-mail.

Griggs said the program has come a long way technologically since he took over.

“I started out with an Excel spreadsheet, and now we have TipSoft — a management tip application software used by agencies all over,” he said. “We even have a call service after the third ring if no one answers, so we will not miss a tip.”

The program offers up to a $1,000 reward if a suspect is apprehended, and there is no limit on where the money might travel.

In 2009, Griggs said one tip led them all the way to Thailand.

Howard Ernest Pritt, 48, was brought back to Texas by the U.S. Marshals Service after being a wanted fugitive for several years.

Records show Pritt was indicted in 2002 on sexual assault to a child charges from Lewisville and fled the country soon after.

“Several years later, I got a tip through our system about this guy. I was e-mailing anonymously with a tipster back and forth until we finally got a location of where the man was staying,” Griggs said. “That’s when we coordinated with the Royal Thai Police, and he was arrested.”

Cases such as these, Griggs said, are why he knows the program works.

Since the program started in 1989, nearly 200 weapons and $5 million worth of drugs have been removed from the streets.

“The board [of directors for Crime Stoppers] is demanding, but it’s their program,” Griggs said. “The board consists of Denton County citizens, and how much and how they want to take a bite out of crime, so to say.”

Griggs said that while he is leaving the Crime Stoppers program behind with his retirement, he might not stay away for too long.

“I have been asked to join as a board member,” he said, and “it’s a possibility” he might take the offer at some point.

While he said his nearly 20-year career as a sheriff’s deputy has been enjoyable, Griggs doesn’t forget his time spent with the Dallas Police Department.

“I got my start there when I was 19 1/2 in 1972,” he said.

Griggs said his father had to buy his ammunition for his gun because at the time, ammo was sold only to people 21 and older.

Dallas in 1976 was when he worked with the Secret Service during President Gerald Ford’s visit to the State Fair of Texas.

“That was a big thing for me,” Griggs said. “Dallas was fun; I grew up in Highland Park, and you didn’t see the same kind of crime there that I saw while on patrol with DPD.”

After leaving the Dallas police force, he served nearly two years on active duty in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Constellation. Upon his return, he returned to law enforcement with the Lake Dallas Police Department.

“Because of my experience, I quickly climbed the ranks there and was promoted to sergeant,” he said.

Law enforcement has always been a part of Griggs’ life, he said.

“I was active in the Explorer Scouts as a kid, working with the Highland Park police,” he said. “It’s just something I really enjoyed.”

Griggs said now he is just ready to do things for his wife, Terry, and “be a dad.”

His two sons, Joshua, 13, and Geron, 15, are growing fast, and Griggs said he wants to be there for them at any extracurricular activities to show his support.

Despite all the chaos his career has taken him into at times, he doesn’t have regrets.

“I consider myself lucky to make it this far,” Griggs said.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.

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