Like many law enforcement officers who love to reminisce about their “war stories,” Kenny Rodgers, a retired chief investigator for the DA’s office, enjoys detailing the limbs on the policing family tree.
Rodgers – well, we’ll call him “Kenny” like everybody else – has written his memoir, Special Crimes, about his days in the DA’s bureau that went by that name.
When you read this book, which is out on Amazon and soon to be in bookstores, you will see that getting the bad guys is in his DNA.
The proof becomes obvious; it goes back five generations. Kenny’s great-great-great grandfather was Texas Ranger pioneer Thomas Gay. Before becoming one of the Republic of Texas’s first Rangers, Gay (1805-1839) fought with Gen. Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was killed in 1939 in the battle of Bird’s Creek in Bell County, along with four other Rangers.
Gay was the proverbial trunk of the law enforcement family tree. Kenny’s great grandfather was Jack Garrett (1861-1927), a Houston police officer beginning in the 1880s.
It gets better: Osborn A. Bexley, his great-great grandfather, was sheriff of Lee County from 1888 to 1890.
Cousin Frank Hooper is a former FBI agent, while cousin Donnie Gay is a current FBI agent. Cousin Paul Rodgers is a retired Houston police officer.
Niece Hillary Roberts and nephew Blake Roberts – yes! – are current Houston police officers.
And, one more limb on the tree is son Kyle Rodgers, whom Kenny helped swear in as a Harris County Precinct 5 deputy constable.
The Special Crimes Bureau under one-time district attorneys Carol Vance and Johnny Holmes handled complex cases that often crossed over into multiple jurisdictions in the state’s largest county. We’re talking solicitations, hitmen, drug-dealing, axe murders (Karla Faye Tucker), corruption of elected officials (Garth Bates and Donald B. Yarbrough), wired-up confidential informants (male and female), habitual criminals and murders all over the state of Texas.
Now then, as the stories detail, none of the success described in the memoir would have been possible without the help of Houston police officers. Indeed, Kenny’s 30 chapters reveal the inside accounts of how inter-agency cooperation works to thwart bad guys of all ilks.
At first Kenny said, “There are so many HPD officers mentioned that I can’t keep count of them.”
Then, as the never-say-die investigator that he is still, even though “retired,” he counted them. And he names them here. Remember, cases recalled in the memoir happened in the 1970s and 1980s, meaning most of these folks are retired or have gone to their eternal reward.
And they are:
Bobby Blaylock, Joe Singleton, Bo Norris, Pappy Bond, Earl Musick, Sam Nucia, Bob Rees, Stanley Plaster, Jimmy Sturdevant, J. R. Swaim, L. L. Obenhaus, Steve Januhowski, Sam Searcy, A. C. Alonso, Jerry Carpenter, Walter Burkham, Danny Wendt, Eddie Fowler, James Boling, Michael D. “Mad Dog” Harrison, Charlie Anderson, A. D. Queen, Herbert Foster, Norbert LeBlanc, Peggy James, Teddy Thomas, Jim Ladd, R. J. Mikulec, Guy Mason, J. C. Mosier, J. J. Henderson, Wally Zeringue, Frank S. Dobyanski, Charles R. Williams, Larry S. Ott, D. L. “Dave” Collier. J. C. Davis, Billy Sims, Don O’Dell, Bill Bryan, J. L. Lorenz, and Mark Newcomb.
Were this memoir an ode, it would be entitled “Ode to the Good Guys,” for not only does it chronicle the inside story of investigations but also the role played by some of the most dedicated prosecutors in Harris County history. Johnny Holmes might be at the top of that list.
You will have to read it and see for yourself.