Two women recently broke the upper echelons of male-dominated Texas Rangers with their promotions to the rank of captain. Wendy Wakeman and Melba Saenz are the first women to reach captaincy in the famous law enforcement agency’s nearly 200-year history.
James Thomas was also promoted to the rank of captain. He is the first known ranger in modern history to graduate and the fourth African American to achieve the rank of captain.
“These three talented, dedicated professionals have excelled in positions throughout their DPS careers and shown tremendous dedication to the people of Texas and our law enforcement partners,” said Steven McCraw, director of DPS. “I am very confident that they will continue to make the department proud of their new roles with the Rangers.”
Thomas and Wakeman promotions go into effect September 1st. Both will be based at the Austin headquarters. Saenz was promoted on May 15th. Your place of employment is Edinburgh. All three held the rank of lieutenant prior to their promotion.
Indeed, this is the second historic step for Wakeman, who has been with the Texas Department of Public Safety for 22 years. She joined the Rangers in 2008 and became the agency’s first female lieutenant in 2014.
Saenz joined the Texas Rangers in 2008 and was promoted to lieutenant a year after Wakeman.
There are only four women in the Ranger ranks – Wakeman, Saenz, and two others.
Doug Swanson, author of “Cult of Fame: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers,” told the Dallas Morning News that this year’s women’s promotions are a long time coming, but a welcome change.
“I think the Rangers are moving in the right direction,” said Swanson. “They were just very slow. I believe the first female rangers were hired and appointed in 1993 for many, many years. Two women were appointed and that did not go well. There was a lot of resistance from many male rangers who had been around for a long time. That was 27, 28 years ago? We’re finally getting a couple of captains. This is a great thing, it just took a long time. “
Thomas graduated from the DPS Academy in 2002. In 2015 he moved to the Texas Rangers in El Paso. Three years later he was promoted to lieutenant and stationed in Waco. He holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from Lamar University
Since George Floyd’s assassination and subsequent protests, calls have been made to remove the Texas Rangers name from the Texas DPS because of their racist and xenophobic past. Rangers collected runaway slaves, executed tejanos during the Porvenir massacre, and helped Texas resist desegregation.