Law Enforcement Experience - State Trooper


DPS Commendations

Law Enforcement Experience

Angelina County Sheriff's Dept.

Diboll Police Department

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Texas Department of Public Safety


1/7/80 Ė 6/8/87

Tom reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety Training Academy at Austin in January 1980, one of only about 100 who were chosen from Trooper applicants accepted across the state for that school.  The DPS Academy is recognized as one of the best and toughest in the nation and lasted 18 intensive weeks at that time.

Texas DPS Academy Class A-1980

While receiving his Trooper training, Tom was schooled in all aspects of law enforcement in a strict and rigorous training environment.  The training process instilled professionalism and discipline in the recruits and over 20% of those hired for this school could not handle the training intensity and washed out, failing to complete the training.  Tom excelled at the DPS Academy in firearms and in his law enforcement studies.  At the completion of the training program at the DPS Academy, Tom was named Valedictorian of his DPS Class A-80, taking the top spot among the 78 graduating Troopers.  Tom received recognition from Colonel James Adams for his accomplishment and was presented with the Norman Zator Award in memory of a Trooper who was killed in the line of duty. 

DPS Academy Valedictorian Award

Zator Award Photo

Tom pictured with the parents of Norman Zator, Col. James Adams & DPS Commissioner Charles Nash at Academy Graduation

After graduation from the DPS Academy, Tom was assigned to the Highway Patrol Service and reported to his new duty station in Woodville.  Current Tyler County Sheriff Gary Hennigan was Tomís first partner and field training officer.

After initial training at Woodville, the DPS allowed Trooper Selman to transfer to Livingston.  Tom was partnered in Livingston with Trooper Barry Caver.  Caver and Selman were close friends and had worked together at both the Angelina County Sheriff's Department and at Diboll PD.  Tom and Barry worked together patrolling the highways for several years in Polk and later, Angelina County.  While in Polk County, Trooper Selman received high marks from his supervisors and worked hard on removing drunk drivers from Polk county highways.  There was a serious DWI problem in the Livingston area at the time and many alcohol related traffic fatalities were claiming a lot of lives.  Tom and his partners racked up dozens of DWI arrests in their effort to prevent traffic deaths and make the highways around Livingston safer.  Tom was also selected by his supervisors become a member of the Beaumont District North Riot Squad where he and members of the team received monthly training in riot control and suppression techniques.  One of the highlights of Trooper Selman's Polk County service was the seizure of 7000 pounds of marijuana valued at over $2 million from a Ryder rental truck during a traffic stop.  The smuggler was apprehended on US 59 south of Shepherd.

In 1982, Tom asked for and received a transfer to Angelina County.  Selman was stationed in Diboll and was assigned under the command of Sergeant Dale Nicholson in Area 2B5, Lufkin.  In 1984, Tom was recognized by his Captain in Beaumont for handling over 100 DWI arrests in a year.  In 1981, 1982 and 1983 Tom was among the top Troopers in the Beaumont District in DWI enforcement with over 100 DWI cases handled each of those years.

Double Fatality DWI Accident

Double fatality crash vehicle.  Alcohol involved.  Tom worked hard to remove drunk drivers from the highways because he saw firsthand the tragedies that drinking and driving caused.

DWI Enforcement Commendation Letter

DWI Fatal Accident

Ford Mustang GT after striking a tree at high speed.  Single fatality DWI accident.  If elected, Tom will put his previous experience to use by spending some of his time targeting drunk drivers on our streets and highways.

Caver and Selman

Trooper, now Texas Ranger Captain, Barry Caver (left) and Tom

Throughout his employment with DPS, Tom accepted extra assignments to various STEP projects funded by federal grants and had experience working the road and filing cases in Orange, Jefferson, Chambers, Liberty, and Nacogdoches counties.  Those projects usually focused on DWI apprehension or speed enforcement.  Troopers working outside of their home county obtained a broader base of skill and knowledge of new areas and procedures while adapting to the requirements of working and filing cases in places unfamiliar to them and outside of their normal duty stations.  At home in Angelina County, Tom prided himself in doing his best to represent the DPS to the community in a professional manner and worked hard to do his part to establish a good relationship with other law enforcement, the courts, local officials and civic groups to further the objectives of the DPS.



Highlights of Tomís years with DPS in Angelina County include: selection as one of about 75 Troopers statewide for specialized training at a DPS TLE (Traffic Law Enforcement) Investigator school designed to give Highway Troopers more skill in thorough investigative techniques involving serious crimes and non-traffic related felony offenses; assignment to hurricane relief duty on the Gulf Coast when Hurricane Alicia and Hurricane Bonnie devastated those areas in the early and mid-80ís; receiving specialized driver training along with assignment of the first Ford Mustang patrol unit in Angelina County;

1986 DPS Ford Mustang

DPS Ford Mustang - a favorite from the past among many Troopers

assignment to the DPS Academy in Austin for 3 weeks as a Recruit School Driving Instructor to observe recruits and teach basic and pursuit driving techniques in actual field training circumstances; selection as one of 31 Troopers from across the state to become an instructor to administer a formal DPS drug interdiction training plan to Troopers across the District and local police agencies;

Plane Load of Marijuana from Angelina County Airport

Load of Marijuana seized from airplane coming inbound from Honduras that landed at the Angelina County Airport, 5/19/85.  Selman and  Steve Sikes captured the suspects who were making the dope pickup.  The smugglers fled the airport in a Ryder Rental truck and after a brief chase on Hwy 59 were stopped by Trooper's gunfire at the vehicle tires.  Troopers Bo Dunkin and Richard Hopson were involved in the arrest and Deputy at the time and now Sheriff Kent Henson assisted the Troopers.

participating in competitive firearms events and winning the Beaumont District Pistol Championship as an individual and several times as a member of the North Sub-District Pistol Team; promotion to Trooper II; acquiring a cumulative total of almost 2000 hours of TCLEOSE credit training hours; and receiving an Advanced Peace Officer Certification from the State of Texas.  Tom really enjoyed speaking to civic groups and area schools and was routinely selected by his supervisors to be a DPS representative to present those safety programs.  June 8, 1987 was Selman's last day with the Texas Department of Public Safety, finishing out over 10 years in law enforcement without a single formal citizen complaint being filed against him.

District Pistol Champion - 1986

Left:  Captain Wayne Pullen, THP Beaumont, awards Tom with a trophy for winning the District Pistol Shoot, Spring 1986.

Below: (L-R) Barry Caver, Tom Selman, Mike Scales & Jim Miller, winners of District Team Pistol Competition, North Sub-District vs. South shown with Captain Wayne Pullen in 1984.

North Sub-District Pistol Team - 1984