A True Texas Ranger

Maurice Cook sits among the photos and memories of his life as an active Texas Ranger. Today, although he officially retired, he is active as an instructor and writer. He will be the speaker at the Manvel Business Forum next Monday.

He’s not like the guys in the movies, actually, he’s better.

Maurice Cook has achieved more than most lawmen in his career, and he’s still growing, and going strong.

It’s hard to know which event in his life is the most exciting, for he certainly has had many.

The 66 year-old man can recall even the smallest detail about the time the Texas Rangers were called to the Huntsville Unit of the Department of Criminal Justice prison when three inmates took hostages.

The "Huntsville Siege," which involved inmates Fred Gomez Carrasco, Rudy S. Dominguez, and Ignacio Cuevas ended when two female hostages and two of the three inmates were killed by law enforcement. “I was a brand new Ranger, and Rangers get exposed to very few situations with that much involvement,” said Cook. “There were five Rangers on the assault team, and that set the tempo for my career.”

He had moved up the ranks of the Texas Rangers after starting out as a police officer in Clute, and later becoming a DPS officer.

He had worked in Criminal Intelligence and Auto Theft while with the DPS, and in 1973, became a Ranger.

He later moved up to become the Assistant Commander of the Rangers, and in 1992, became Chief, with 100 Rangers under him.

It is rare for Rangers to be involved in shooting incidents, but instead they are more focused on investigating corruption of public officials. Today, their roles have expanded to include Homeland Security, and two locations are now set up within the state.

During the Branch Davidian siege in 1993 in Waco, Cook and his team were involved, not in the incident, but in preparing the case for prosecutor.

Cook says the incident made history, not by the events that occurred, but because of what happened later.

He said the laws that were created following the events in Waco allowed for many death penalty circumstances to be Congressionally approved.

Cook was also involved in the Johnny Paul Penry case, where the question of whether to put to death a mentally retarded man was not resolved until his fourth trial. The result was that Penry was finally give a life sentence without parole. It started in 1980 and ended in 2008.

Today, he is a Special Texas Ranger, commissioned following his retirement in 1996.

But, he doesn’t dwell on the past, using it instead to teach students in his law enforcement classes at Alvin Community College, where he is the Director of Criminal Justice Training. In 2005, Cook passed the Texas Bar examination, earned a law degree which he says has allowed him to practice law, and use that knowledge with his students.

He finished law school in two-and-a-half years, without missing one class. “I do better and enjoy things when I am challenged,” said Cook.

His resume is filled with impressive accomplishments. He graduated from the FBI National Academy, earned a BS from Sam Houston State University, and an MA from Stephen F. Austin State University.

He served four years in the US Air Force, and is a Viet Nam veteran. His wife, Sherry, is the Assistant Administrator of the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission.

Cook will speak about his experiences at the Manvel Business Forum at Grace United Methodist Church in Manvel on Monday, Feb. 15. Tickets are available at the Alvin-Manvel Chamber of Commerce office, 281-331-3944.

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