Candidate: City 4 justice of the peace challenger HQ Thomas

HQ Thomas

The following questions were submitted by the Bulletin to candidates for Brown County Justice of the Peace in Precincts 3 and 4 in the March 1 Republican Party primary election. These are the answers from HQ challenger Thomas from enclosure 4.

Please provide a summary of your background and biography.

I was born in Crane, TX and grew up in Odessa, TX. However, Brownwood and Brown County had been my second home since I was born. My grandparents, TN and Frankie Thomas lived here, and my father, Everett R. Thomas, was born on the farm just outside May, TX. My father moved to Odessa for work. After my siblings graduated from high school, my dad and mom, Bobbie Jo Thomas, bought Mountain View Lodge and Marina on Brownwood Lake in 1979. They ran the marina until my husband passed away. father in 1992. My mother sold the business, but she kept the land around it.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Brown County, not just visiting my grandparents and parents on many, many weekends, holidays, and family vacations over the years. Helped with marina maintenance including rebuilding docks, working holidays etc.

My wife, Teri, and I moved to Lake Brownwood in 2013 after spending the past two years driving back and forth from Hutto, helping my mother with health issues. We bought her house by the lake, so she could move to Odessa and live in an all-inclusive retirement village. She passed away last year, and my siblings and I now own all of the land around where Mountain View Lodge and Marina once stood.

Since we moved to Lake Brownwood, I applied to the Brownwood Police Department and returned to work. I spent 3 months on patrol and was asked to switch to criminal investigations due to my extensive background and training in investigations. I retired in 2018 and became a private investigator. In 2019, I started working part-time for Howard Payne University as an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. I had previously worked for more than 24 years in the Odessa Police Department, reaching the rank of captain in the criminal investigation division; and I left there for Hutto, TX, where I served as Chief of Police for about 5 1/2 years.

Please state why you are applying or, if incumbent, why you wish to be re-elected.

My number one is to be a Christian and a man of integrity; beyond that, it is my education, training and over 36 years of experience in law enforcement, including investigative and administrative positions, that have been paramount in preparing for the position of judge of peace. I will be “Justice with Integrity”.

Please indicate why you think you are best qualified for the position.

I have a bachelor’s degree in criminology; attended the 204th session of the FBI National Academy; and numerous training courses on homicide investigations, domestic violence investigations, hostage negotiations, etc. Another name for justice of the peace is judge. My career in law enforcement has made me a very sure judge of character, ethics, integrity, values, customs, beliefs, etc. I value integrity the highest. I came into law enforcement not as a job, but as a call from God. Additionally, I was a high school and college football referee for 28 years, in which the majority of games I was a back judge. Just like law enforcement, you have to make split-second decisions or you’ll end up in the NFL (Not For Long) in these businesses.

Please list your goals if elected or re-elected and, if incumbent, list your most significant accomplishments.

If elected, my goals are to be a full-time justice of the peace who is always available and willing to serve Brown County. My vision was to run for Justice of the Peace for District 4, until Jim Cavenaugh retires. I believe that God has pushed me in this direction, so that I can continue as a servant leader in the community.

Among many accomplishments, one of the greatest was when one of my detectives and I obtained a confession from a suspect in a double homicide that had occurred in Walker County, Texas. The suspects confessed to entering a house and stabbing the rural landlady to death while her husband was at work. The suspect drugs his body in a wooded area for burial. The suspect also carried a sleeping 18-month-old baby into the woods and laid her down next to her mother’s body. As the suspect was digging the shallow pit, the baby woke up and fell into the hole. The suspect rolled his mother over the toddler, covered them and buried the toddler alive. We established such a good rapport with the suspect, we flew with the suspect in Walker County, and he drove us to the location of the bodies after being there for 2 years. The suspect was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death at trial. The case was appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court and the confessions we gathered were upheld. That said, the decision changed how law enforcement could interview suspects who were arrested on additional charges stemming from the same criminal episode, and their respective rights with respect to Miranda. As a result, I appeared on a national Discovery Channel television show, “The New Prosecutors.” The case is Raymond Levi Cobb v. State, 2001.

In terms of my personal life, which is closely tied to my career in law enforcement, I have had the opportunity to volunteer on many boards of not-for-profit organizations. One of the many councils was the Odessa Rape Victim Support Center, where I was later elected chairwoman of the council. During my term, the council and the community saw the need to open a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Odessa, so we got to work. There has been an outpouring of funds from the community; the City donated a former fire station, which has been converted into a shelter. We now needed funding for project staffing, and state and federal grants were not available until you were operational for at least a year. I heard that Texas Governor Rick Perry was coming to town for a speech, so I assigned myself to the dignitary protection detail. I was a CID lieutenant at the time. When Governor Perry got into the backseat of the airport car after his speech, I was the last to shake his hand. I stopped him from getting in the car and told him I had to talk to him. I gave him the abbreviated version of the problem, and he pulled out a card and wrote down a lady’s number in Austin for me to call. However, he told me not to call him until the next day, so he had a chance to talk to him first. I called and the rest is history. The first year the shelter, Angel House, was open, there were over 300 victims and children who came through. Governor Perry’s wife came to the one year anniversary and gave a dedication speech of the lives that have been affected and saved by Angel House.

More information can be found on HQ Thomas Facebook about his professional background and training.

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