In a recent development, Steve Westbrook, the former Executive Director of the Sheriffs' Association of Texas (SAT), has tendered his resignation.
The SAT Board, convening on Wednesday, decided to accept Westbrook's resignation as an alternative to termination. Skylor Hearne has been appointed as the interim executive director to fill the vacancy.
Larry Smith, the President of SAT and Sheriff of Smith County, disclosed in a news conference on Thursday that Westbrook had been placed on administrative leave since November 17th, triggered by an investigation initiated by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Smith revealed that the investigation was prompted by a tip from two SAT employees.
As part of his resignation agreement, Westbrook will surrender his peace officer’s license to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and is obligated to make full restitution, the amount of which will be determined through a forensic audit. His compensation has been terminated immediately.
Smith expressed the shock felt by sheriffs who knew Westbrook, emphasizing how quickly integrity can be compromised. The specific amount of misappropriated funds was not disclosed, but Smith indicated it was a "significant" sum, and the alleged offense spanned an extended period, prompting a forensic audit covering 5 to 7 years.
Steve Westbrook commenced his law enforcement career at the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office in 1978 and later joined the Washington County law enforcement after being appointed as a special Texas Ranger in 1985. He had been serving as SAT’s executive director since 1998.
Apart from his law enforcement roles, Westbrook contributed to various organizations, serving on the Blinn Board of Trustees for 17 years and being honored in the College’s Hall of Honor in 2021. He was involved in local events like the Washington County Fair, Brenham Maifest, and was a founding member of the Cowboy Church of Brenham.