Rumors and innuendo are a difficult thing to muddle through sometimes.
But a rumor swirling around Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant has reached a fever pitch and can no longer be ignored.
Last week the E-T obtained credible information that Bryant was being investigated by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) for allegedly cheating on his continuing education training. A call to TCOLE last week seeking confirmation about the investigation was not returned.
But a city and county official speaking on the agreement that their names would not be used in this report, said Bryant is under investigation for allegedly having a former deputy complete the training for him.
“I know there is an investigation because I was interviewed,” the county official said.
The official went on to say the investigation began when former sheriff’s deputy Cameron Ray applied for a job with the Stephenville Police Department, and on the application disclosed that he had completed Bryant’s training while he worked at the sheriff’s office.
In March, Bryant was reprimanded by TCOLE for failing to complete the legislatively-required continuing education. According to documents obtained by the E-T, Bryant was one of 190 law enforcement personnel across the state reprimanded for the offense.
The continuing education is a 40-hour training course required by the state to ensure that law enforcement officials are informed on any recent changes to laws.
A city official confirmed this scenario and said he too is aware of the investigation.
But on Tuesday, Bryant said he is unaware of any investigation and has not been interviewed by TCOLE.
“I don’t know of any investigation against me and I don’t know why there would be one,” Bryant said. “I have done nothing wrong.”
Bryant said the trouble started last summer after he returned home from a training conference with the Sheriff’s Association of Texas in San Antonio.
“It is a training conference and after I got back I was notified by TCOLE that I was three or four hours short on my training,” Bryant said. “The next thing I knew Cameron (Ray) had taken a course for me to get me caught up, and I thanked him.”
Bryant said he was later contacted by Police Chief Jason King who told him the department could not hire Ray because of his admission that he had taken the course for Bryant.
“When I found out it cost Cameron the job, I decided to self-report and notify TCOLE about what had happened,” Bryant said. “And that’s all I know.”
Bryant went on to say he never asked Ray to complete his training and was shocked that he had done it
Ray was contacted by the E-T Tuesday morning for comment, but said he did not want to make a statement at this time.
The E-T will continue to seek information about this alleged investigation with TCOLE and will bring readers more information as it develops.