Philip R. Ryan
March 20, 1992 to January 15, 2004.
When Phil Ryan walked through the doors of the sheriff's department on March 20,
1992, as the new sheriff, he brought with him a vast world of experience and knowledge.
Ryan was born in Oklahoma on August 10, 1945, and raised in the Houston area. He
entered law enforcement in 1967, when he was accepted to the Pasadena Police Department
Academy. A year later, 1968, he applied and was accepted to the Department of Public
Safety Academy in Austin.
After graduation from the DPS Academy, Ryan was stationed in Cleveland, with the
highway patrol division. In 1977, he was transferred to Wise County and stationed in
Decatur. In 1978, he was promoted to sergeant, which took him to Humble. He was in Humble
until he was promoted to the Texas Rangers in 1979. His only ranger station was in Wise
County, which also covered Jack, Montague, and Clay Counties. He retired from the Texas
Rangers and DPS on January 31, 1989.
As a ranger, Ryan worked many cases that made him well known not only throughout
the state, but throughout the nation as well. Phil Ryan, while assisting Montague County,
arrested one of the most publicized serial killers of modern times, Henry Lee Lucas. Phil
Ryan was also the Texas Ranger assigned to the Ricky Lee and Sharon Green case, two of the
most notorious serial killers in Wise County.
After retiring from law enforcement, Ryan entered the private sector, but this
would only last for a year. On January 1, 1991, he returned to law enforcement taking over
the vacant investigator position at the district attorney's office. Ryan was also
appointed as the Emergency Management Coordinator when Wendell Berry resigned. He held
this position until January 31, 1992, when the 911 emergency system came on line.
In 1992, Ryan began his campaign for sheriff, running on the democratic ballot.
He had only one opponent, Charles Johnson of Bridgeport. He won the primary on March 10,
On March 20, 1992, he took his oath of office on the same day that Burch's
resignation took effect.
With aid of grants and the county commissioner's, many different programs have
been added during Ryan's tenure. They are as follows: Crime prevention division, Crime
Stoppers, 24 hour patrol and dispatching, the Jail Industries program, Mounted patrol,
Honor Guard, and the Vehicle Maintenance shop. Ryan also added a computer network system
throughout the entire building.
A 48 bed dormitory was also built to extend the life of the present jail, which
is nearly full.
On March 12, 1996, Ryan won the democratic primary and was re-elected sheriff
for his second term (1997-2000).
On November 7, 2000, Ryan
was re-elected for his third term (2001-2004).
resigned in January of 2004 to take an investigative position in Denton