TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas
Sergeant Richard Hale has been enforcing the law for 20 years with the Travis County Sheriff's Office. However, he is now accused of breaking the law. A family member called deputies to Hale's home in Manor on Dec. 14. At that time, he was accused of choking and shoving his victim. Even though he is a detective within the department, he was arrested and charged with assault with injury/family violence.
"There is a dual investigation going on at this point," said Roger Wade, with the Travis County Sheriff's Office. "There's a criminal investigation for the assault and there's an internal investigation with our internal affairs office."
Hale is not on the streets during the investigations. The detective has been stripped of his law enforcement powers, and sits behind a desk, for now. That could change, thanks to a strict domestic violence policy in the Sheriff's Office.
"First and foremost, we think of the victim," said Wade. "We don't take a person's job status into consideration when we go to these calls. We are thinking of the victim and the protection of the victim."
The Travis County Sheriff issued a resolution last year, written in honor of Dana Conley, who is undergoing physical therapy. Her husband, Julius Conley, a Travis County corrections officer, beat her with a dumbbell in February 2007 at their Round Rock home. Dana, who was pregnant at the time, was comatose for months following that beating. She gave birth to a healthy child while still in a coma in September 2007. The 39-year-old's mother's parents, who live in California, took temporary custody of the baby.
A friend of Dana's, Quincy Johnson, was also beaten in that attack. He died as a result of his injuries. The Conley's were going through a divorce at the time after a tumultuous and abusive marriage, according to investigators. Julius pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated assault in July, 2007 and was given two life sentences.
After that incident, the domestic violence resolution was posted in almost every office in the department, warning employees against family violence.
"We take family violence seriously, and we will investigate fully, even if you're an employee," said Wade.
This is something Wade said Hale should have known.
"He was a supervisor in this agency and knew and he had the responsibility of passing that information on to the people that he supervised," said Wade.
Hale will appear in front of Travis County judge on Jan. 6, 2009. A representative for Hale said the sergeant denies choking, shoving or hurting anyone. He is cooperating with investigators and expects to be exonerated.