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County hero shares honor

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

“It takes the whole unit, not just a single person, to get the job done,” said Denton police Detective Terry Brooks, who was recently named Officer of the Year by the Heroes of Denton County organization.

Brooks’ demeanor is laid-back, faith-driven and humble, traits admired by his supervisor, Sgt. Scott Jenkins. Brooks has been with the Denton Police Department for 12 1/2 years and was honored at the 12th annual Heroes of Denton County Awards and Recognition Gala at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 26.

Heroes of Denton County is a nonprofit organization founded in 2002. According to the organization’s website, its mission is to not only generate community support for the appreciation and recognition of public safety officers and their families but also to provide immediate support to the families of fallen officers within the county.

Each year, the organization honors a police officer, telecommunicator and firefighter.

In a nomination letter to Police Chief Lee Howell, Jenkins stated: “The most impressive aspect of Terry Brooks’ approach to law enforcement is his ability to balance work and family.”

Officer Ryan Grelle, spokesman for Denton police, said the department has had other officers nominated over the years, but Brooks is the first Denton officer to take home the award.

Brooks said he is extremely honored, but feels he couldn’t have done anything without his peers. For two and a half years, Brooks has been part of the Eastern District of Texas’ Joint Fugitive Task Force, in which he “hunts down the worst of the worst.”

Jenkins stated in his nomination letter that Brooks, cross-credentialed as a special deputy U.S. marshal, was directly responsible for 227 arrests and 330 filed charges during a one-year period ending July 10.

The task force is composed of at least 10 active area agencies, Brooks said, should a case need a representative on the local, state or federal level.

“We can be in southern Oklahoma or as far south as Beaumont, just to catch a wanted fugitive,” he said.

In addition to serving on the task force, where he helped capture three homicide suspects and four of Texas’ most wanted fugitives this year, Brooks is assigned to the Denton Repeat Offender Program, of which he said his focus is on career criminals mainly involved in drugs and weapons offenses.

No matter what he is doing, the unit he is with at the time has the same goals of wanting to hold people accountable for their actions, and that’s what enables them to be so efficient in their jobs, Brooks said.

“It’s the satisfaction of having those guys off the street,” he said. “It helps people sleep at night.”

Brooks graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Wayland Baptist University before he made his move to Denton 16 years ago. His first law enforcement job was with the Denton County Probation Department. He worked with the county for four years before he transitioned to where he is today.

“In my opinion, I can think of officers around the county that are more deserving than me for this award. I’m just doing my job,” he said during a recent interview after receiving his award. “It’s really an honor to even be nominated, but it should be the whole unit that’s recognized — it’s really just a collaborative effort.”

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