Conroe, April 20 – Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Captain Oliver Coward, one of the most highly respected officers in law enforcement in Montgomery County, resigned from office today after publication of the patrolman’s letter in The Golden Hammer today in which an accusation against Coward arose that a Sergeant in the department had taken Coward’s Texas Commission on Law Enforcement certification continuation classes for him. Coward, who was the Jail Administrator, was regarded as a person with impeccable honesty and integrity among the vast majority of the peace officers in the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Rand Henderson and many other officers openly referred to Coward as their “work dad.”
The Golden Hammer has confirmed that Coward resigned today after publication of the letter from a patrolman in the article “Is the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office facing a crisis? Latest Patrol Officers’ letter raises additional concerns,” The Golden Hammer, April 20, 2018.
Chief Deputy Ken Culbreath will assume the duties as the acting Jail Administrator.
There are two particularly troubling aspects to the allegations against Coward that go beyond the allegations even in the letter, which such aspects more than two dozen insiders in the Sheriff’s Office have confirmed, anonymously, throughout the day to this newspaper. First, the allegation is that Coward ordered a sergeant to take the TCOLE classes for him and take the certification examination for him. Second, the allegation is that the sergeant followed that allegedly improper order, did so, and remains in the employ of the Sheriff’s Office. There is an internal affairs investigation into the matter within the Sheriff’s Office which began today. The investigation is both administrative and criminal.
The patrolman’s letter concerning Coward read as follows:
“Ok, moving on to the Captains behaving badly…A Sergeant has bragged about taking the Jail Captain’s TCOLE classes for him and getting his certifications for him. Could this be true? Not sure why someone would brag about this. If it’s not true, then that sergeant lied. Perhaps a polygraph would clear the air. Liar or cheat, which one? I’m sure I am held to a higher standard. Cheat and criminal is very low standard and sadly, that is the standard for these supervisors. This ruse could easily be detected by checking the computers in the transport office. it would be nice if no one wiped or replaced them before the DA can check them. And yes, a copy of this is going to the DA and TCOLE.”
Coward was the Jail Administrator for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing. He graduated at the top of his class when he obtained his Basic Peace Officer Certification from The University of Houston Downtown Criminal Justice Center.
Coward joined the Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy and rose through the ranks eventually to become a Lieutenant before Henderson promoted Coward to Captain in 2017. He also served as Special Services Lieutenant overseeing Recruiting, Crime Prevention, Crime Stoppers, and Community Policing programs.
Sheriff Henderson’s announcement to the Sheriff’s Office follows:
The Golden Hammer has confirmed that the letter from the District Attorney’s Office to Sheriff Henderson included the patrolman’s letter as an attachment.
Clearly, the Sheriff’s Office has major problems. Numerous peace officers in the Sheriff’s Office believe that Chief Deputy Ken Culbreath will lose his job in the very near future. Of Henderson’s original seven captains, two were suspended (Kevin Ray, Bryan Carlisle), one has resigned (Coward), and one committed suicide (Captain Randall Eaves). Carlisle resigned last week. Ray is under investigation. Numerous patrol officers, sergeants, and lieutenants have requested anonymity but complained about two other Captains as well as Chief Culbreath.
The most common complaint among the peace officers who speak to this newspaper, with requested anonymity, is that Sheriff Henderson and Chief Culbreath have made decisions based upon politics rather than merit and law enforcement.
Sheriff Henderson declined to make a comment.