STAFF, SUBMITTED REPORTS
The Hays County commissioners court will consider appointing Austin Police Department veteran Scott Cary to the Buda area justice of the peace bench following his nomination last week by Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton.
If confirmed by a majority of the five-member court, Cary will retire from the Austin Police Department where he has served for 27 years in order to assume JP duties later this month. The court is scheduled to consider the appointment at their regular session tomorrow.
Barton said his decision is based on a recommendation from a blue-ribbon Citizen Selection Committee he appointed to review applicants. About 20 people expressed interest in the job; 17 went through a formal application process designed by Barton.
Last week, the Selection Committee and Barton announced a short list of 10 applicants. Earlier this week, Barton made public the committee’s list of four finalists, along with a set of criteria the committee developed to judge them.
“I wanted a transparent, professional, thorough process,” Barton said in a writte n statement. “We got that. I hope this can serve as a model for how the county might deal with future appointments. By opening this to the public we brought in more people, more skill sets, and more competition. The result was a terrific group of applicants, a highly talented set of finalists — and a final recommendation the public can have the utmost confidence in. Scott Cary is tested, qualified, and familiar with community. He’s been checked out in public and in private. I think he will make a great justice of the peace.”
Cary, 55, has lived in the Buda area 23 years. He is a highly decorated veteran of the Austin Police Department and a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy. He has studied management and criminal justice at Ranger Junior College, Texas State, the University of Texas, St. Edward’s and the University of Virginia, and has completed hundreds of hours of professional training, including a United States Secret Service Protective Intelligence course.
He was the founder and race director of the Hays High School Project Graduation Run, which raised more than $70,000 from 1999 – 2005, and is a volunteer Special Olympics certified basketball coach at Marbridge with several state Championships under his belt. Cary is also a certified USA Track and Field Official and volunteers at numerous running events and charities locally and throughout Central Texas.
In 2008, Cary was appointed to Governor Rick Perry’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness. Last year he was also awarded the 100 Club of central Texas volunteer of the year award.
Cary began his career at APD in 1982. He worked as a patrol officer in central East Austin for several years before being promoted to Detective. Cary was assigned to the robbery/homicide division for eight years where he worked on several high profile investigations, including the Yogurt Shop Murders and the abduction/murder of Colleen Reed. Cary was promoted to Sergeant in 1993. Since his promotion he has supervised the SWAT team, the Bomb Squad and patrol squads. He was later promoted to senior sergeant, and has three-times been named one of the APD employees of the year.
Last year Cary took on the challenge of forming a Peer Support program at APD. Since that time he has been building a program to assist officers with stress related issues common to the law enforcement profession.
Cary has been married for 32 years to Merry Cary, a teacher at Buda Elementary who is also a long-time community volunteer. Scott and Merry have two daughters, Megan and Faith, both graduates of Hays High and Texas A&M University.
The Buda JP post has been vacant since Dec. 31 when long-time judge Lamont Ramage retired. Barton praised the county’s other justices of the peace for their willingness to step up in the interim. The county had planned to replace Ramage with former Texas Ranger Tommy Ratliff, but Ratliff was appointed sheriff in December after the untimely death of incumbent sheriff Allen Bridges.
Barton said he also conferred with Judge Ramage about the process and the committee’s final recommendation. The current term will expire in 2010. Cary has expressed an interest in running for a full four-year term at that time.