Steve Westbrook of Brenham has stepped down as the executive director of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas (SAT) amid accusations of misappropriating organization funds.
SAT President and Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith announced at a news conference on Thursday that Westbrook was placed on administrative leave on November 17th upon learning of an investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The investigation, according to Smith, began after a tip from two SAT employees.
The SAT Board voted on Wednesday to accept Westbrook’s resignation in lieu of termination. Skylor Hearne was appointed to serve as interim executive director.
Per his resignation, Westbrook will surrender his peace officer’s license to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and pay full restitution as determined by a forensic audit. His compensation also stopped immediately.
Smith said during the news conference that the accusations were “a shock for every sheriff that knew him” and that integrity “can be lost at the snap of your fingers.”
The specific amount of funding involved in the investigation was not disclosed by Smith. However, he did say the amount appeared to be “significant” and that the alleged offense occurred over a long period of time. He said the forensic audit is expected to go back between 5 to 7 years.
Westbrook started his career in law enforcement at the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office in 1978. He came to Washington County after being appointed in 1985 as special Texas Ranger with the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He had served as SAT’s executive director since 1998.
Westbrook also served for 17 years on the Blinn Board of Trustees and was named to the College’s Hall of Honor in 2021. He has been involved with organizations like the Washington County Fair, Brenham Maifest, Graham Lodge #20 and Brenham Shrine Club. He was also one of the founding members of the Cowboy Church of Brenham.
KWHI is attempting to reach Westbrook for comment.