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Ruston Alsbrooks

Page history last edited by Brian Riedel 12 years, 5 months ago

Ruston Alsbrooks was interviewed in 2010 by Ashley Membere, Joshua Redwine, and Lena Silva.

Alsbrooks agreed that the students could mount a Wikipedia entry about him. The original Wikipedia entry is provided below.

Informed consent, a video, and extended paper documentation for the interview are available at the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Return to the SWGS 201 interviewee list.

Ruston Alsbrooks (1960-) is an officer for the Houston Police  

Department and serves as a member of Houston Mayor Annise Parker's  

security detail.


Early Life

Ruston Alsbrooks was born in 1960 on a farm in the East Texas town of  

Lufkin, where he lived with his parents and an older brother and  

sister. His mother and father worked in accounting and doing factory  

work, respectively. After graduating from high school, he worked on a  

Sperry Sun oil ship for fourteen years and was able to travel around  

the world, spending time in Scotland and South America. As a result of  

turmoil within the oil industry, Alsbrooks chose to leave this career  

and attend the University of Houston. He graduated magna cum laude  

from the University of Houston downtown campus with a Bachelor of  

Science Degree in criminal justice.


Houston Police Department (HPD) 

Having applied and been accepted by the Baltimore, Washington DC, and  

Houston police departments, Alsbrooks chose to work for HPD in April  

of 1995. Annise Parker, president of the Gay and Lesbian Political  

caucus at the time, was influential in this decision. Alsbrooks went  

to Parker, who had worked with the police department before, for her  

advice about if his homosexuality would be an issue as a police  

officer. She contacted the then Chief of Police, Sam Nuchia, who  

assured Alsbrooks that as long as he met the requirements and had the  

proper training, sexuality would not be a factor in his application  

process or in his service with the Houston Police Department.

After attending police academy, Alsbrooks spent three years in the  

patrol unit of the HPD. He then went into investigative and  

under-cover work with crimes including street-level narcotics,  

prostitution, and robbery. Alsbrooks later worked with a Hot Spot  

unit, where he was involved in the implementation of a SARA model to  

decrease crime in certain, at-risk Houston communities. His reports  

using the SARA model are still used in training other HPD officers in  

Hot Spot work. He then worked in traffic enforcement before doing  

motorcycle detail. Throughout his service with the HPD, Alsbrooks was  

able to serve as part of security motorcades providing dignitary  

protection for presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama during their visits  

to Houston.


Cultural Diversity Work

The murder of Paul Broussard in the 1990s, along with instances of  

discrimination against the LGBT community at the hands of Houston  

police officers, inspired gay-specific sensitivity training for the  

Houston Police Department. Inspired by Annise Parker's work with HPD,  

Alsbrooks chose to work with the Cultural Diversity Program. He  

trained police cadets on interaction with the LGBT community, using  

his own experience as an openly gay police officer to provide them  

with a unique perspective.


Kaesman Lawsuit

In 1998, Alsbrooks and the Houston Police Department were named as  

defendants in a $48 million lawsuit filed by Susan Hartnett, mother of  

a suspect fatally shot by police officers. On October 25, 1998 Derek  

Kaeseman was followed from a known narcotics trafficking location in  

Houston's Fourth Ward by Alsbrooks and his partner. When Kaeseman  

failed to stop, a chase involving several police cars resulted. A  

passenger leapt from the car and was taken into custody by Alsbrooks'  

partner as Kaeseman continued down the Southwest Freeway. The  

passenger informed the officer that Kaeseman might have been armed.  

The suspect proceeded to hit a police car and came to a stop after  

crashing in Stafford. Alsbrooks, in addition to nine other police  

officers, drew his weapon when Kaeseman reached under his seat and  

then appeared to have a shiny object in his hand. The officers fired  

on Kaeseman, who died, but the object was later determined to be a can  

opener. All officers were cleared of criminal charges.


Security Detail for Annise Parker


For the 2009 mayoral campaign, all-volunteer security details were  

formed for the candidates. Alsbrooks formed a security detail for then  

mayoral candidate Annise Parker during the campaign, which Parker  

claimed to have an "unprecedented level of media attention, which is  

worldwide and off the charts." Following her election to office,  

Parker asked him to stay on as a part of her permanent security detail  

and Alsbrooks accepted. Today, he continues to work as a part of Mayor  

Annise Parker's personal detail. Parker's security detail has to  

navigate a unique array of challenges and threats as the first  

protection unit for the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city.  

Currently, according to Alsbrooks, little empirical research exists  

around protection of openly gay politicians. "This isn't the regular  

security detail that each mayor has. This is the Dignitary Protection  

Unit. Mine is very heavy right now." Parker said.


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