AUSTIN (KXAN) — Governor Greg Abbott appointed Justin Berry to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) for a term set to expire August 30, 2027. Abbott also appointed Martina Lemond Dixon to a term set to expire in 2023.
Berry, an Austin native, is a senior police officer for the Austin Police Department. He tweeted thanking Gov. Abbott for appointing him to TCOLE on Friday afternoon.
“The demands and expectations of today’s professional police officer have never been so great. I look forward to ensuring Texas has the best police officers in the world. Ensuring those who answer the call to serve their respective communities have the training and resources necessary to be set up for success are a priority to not only keeping Texan’s safe but ensuring trust is earned and maintained by those very communities,” Berry wrote on Twitter.
Earlier this year, he was indicted, along with 18 other APD officers, on aggravated assault charges related to the May 2020 racial injustice protests in downtown Austin. He previously called the indictment “frivolous.” He bonded out on a $1 bond amount.
Abbott provided a statement in response to questions about the indictment, which said ““Here in Texas, we back the blue. Justin Berry is a proven public servant who has selflessly worked to protect his community and his fellow Texans.” He added that officers who responded during protests in Austin “deserve to be praised, not prosecuted.”
Berry also ran for the newly drawn Texas House District 19 but was bested in the Republican primary runoff election in May by former councilmember Ellen Troxclair.
The governor has the authority to make governmental appointments, a power given to the Governor of Texas by the state’s Constitution.
Most appointments are:
- State officials and members of state boards, commissions and councils that carry out the laws and direct the policies of state government activities;
- Members of task forces that advise the Governor or executive agencies on specific issues and policies; or
- State elected and judicial offices when vacancies occur by resignation or death of the office holder.
Texas residents can also apply for appointment to a position on a Board or Commission.
TCOLE is comprised of nine members appointed by the governor. The Commissioners serve staggered terms of six years and serve without compensation except for reasonable and necessary expenses. Three are members of the general public, three are law enforcement chief executive officers, and three are line personnel from law enforcement agencies at the time of their appointment.
KXAN reached out to District Attorney Jose Garza, and TCOLE for information on how Berry’s indictment affects his appointment.