Crissie Ballard’s Statement for We The People March 2019 in Georgetown, TX about Williamson County Robert Chody

My husband and I married three months after our first date, and just celebrated our 27th anniversary. I had a nine year old when we married, and she has never been anything but his daughter. We have a son as well, and four grandchildren. Last year, our oldest grandson was diagnosed with dyslexia. This is when my husband of 26 years finally told me that he was also diagnosed with dyslexia. He never understood what it meant, and never received any help with it. He thought his whole life that it meant that he was stupid or unable to learn. But knowing our grandson and how smart he was, he realized it was finally okay to admit that he had it as well.

As a teacher, I saw the signs, but it just wasn’t something we discussed. He went through the police academy, Army basic training then AIT, Air Assault school, did four years in the military and then put himself through CAPCOG when we moved to Texas. He was hired by Wilco in 2005 and went through their training academy. The physical part came easy for him but I remember always he worried about passing tests. But he did. He always did.

After three years on the road as a deputy he put in for a position on the SWAT team and on the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, competed for it and got the position. He completed the SWAT training required to be on the team. He was also on the Swift Water team and the Dive Rescue and Recovery team. If you look at his commendations you will see people taking time to thank him for literally changing the course of their lives. The reports for arrests of the LSFTF show him as THE top performer on the team. As you can imagine, I am very proud of his accomplishments.

Shortly after Chody took office my husband tore his rotator cuff and bicep tendon while taking the PT test for SWAT. He was only one of the six that passed, even with injuries. He was off for several months for surgery and recovery. When he came back, the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force no longer existed. Because of an incident that happened with our daughter while he was in the military, in which our daughter testified and two soldiers were court martialed and are now registered sex offenders, he takes sex offender compliance checks very seriously. He was concerned that they were no longer being done, so he checked. At the time he checked only two or three had been done in five months, nowhere near the quantity the team had previously been doing and he was greatly concerned and spoke to his commander and chief Ryle about it. He was then told to write a memo that he would not contact the person in charge of sex offender compliance checks for any information. A couple of weeks later, Robert Chody appeared in the news bragging about doing compliance checks and saying that the previous administration had not done them. This was a lie and the beginning the end of my husband’s career at Williamson County.

He was eventually moved to CID, which was the last place he wanted to be, sitting behind a desk. He was told he would do all of the walk-ins, work 5 8 hour days rather than 4 10s like everyone else, and would still be expected to complete the same workload as the other detectives. I personally witnessed other detectives say that they offered to help with the walk-ins but were told no.

Shortly after he was moved to CI, he had his first IA ever in over 12 years. At the time Chody made the statement that he thought my husband was “Team Chody” so he was not disciplined, although rightfully so. Soon afterwards there was another IA, this time for working from home writing reports. They accused him of having me write his reports for him. I’m a teacher, I teach. I don’t do it for you. I have worked with him on his writing skills for years and they were improving, and they used that against him. This IA was unsustained but it was during the interview that he mentioned that he had dyslexia. Although it should not be, it was embarrassing for him to admit. He was simply explaining why he had trouble with spelling and with sentence structure at times. He was not even asking for any accommodations. He had learned to used Grammarly and other programs to assist him. He was immediately demoted from Detective to patrol. Since it had been over nine years since he had been on patrol, he was required to go through a two-week refresher course riding with a Field Training Officer. During his short time on patrol, two FTOs told him that they were told to turn down every report he wrote. They also told him that his reports seemed fine to them so they couldn’t understand why the report writing was an issue. These were reports he wrote on duty in their presence. Clear evidence I wasn’t writing his reports. He also made the statement to others afterwards that the IA complaint was bullshit.

While cleaning out his office, he was unexpectedly called into a meeting with Fikac, Deaton, and a couple of others where he was forced to empty his pockets, asked where his phone was and if he had a recording device. During this meeting, Fikac accused him of making “disparaging remarks about the sheriff’s office”. He denied it because in his heart he was not. He was saying that the IA was bullshit. Fikac filed yet another IA against him for this, and accused him of lying. Keep in mind that at the same time Fikac accused him of lying, he was underreporting his income on federal bankruptcy documents by $30,000 per year. THAT is lying and certainly not the #purposeprideprofessionalism they are fond of quoting. I actually found these public records, as anyone can, and sent them to Chody in an email, still at the time thinking that he really had no idea what his admin team was doing and that certainly Fikac would undergo an IA for lying as well. Nothing.

At this time Ryle made the statement that “the sheriff is not willing to make any accommodations for your disability”, dyslexia, and he could no longer perform the duties of the department, which I have both audio and a written memo of, and they would have to find a place in the SO where he would not have to write reports. This is after he has been writing reports for over 12 years, with the lowest evaluation being a 7/10. He was moved to corrections where he was given the task of transporting prisoners. This was a $20,000 paycut and loss of a county vehicle.

Within a day he was indefinitely suspended for making disparaging remarks for complaining about the situation to his ex-partner inside the Sheriff’s office, which was overheard by one of Fikac’s close personal friends, incidentally reported to have been previously fired by Chody at the Constable’s office for drinking in his county vehicle and rehired by Chody when he was elected sheriff. This person’s word was enough to have my husband immediately put on indefinite suspension, essentially fired. He was also given a dishonorable F5 for lying, which typically keeps LE from being able to be hired by other agencies.

My husband was one of the first casualties of the Chody administration. We have watched as one by one they have fallen. We have felt for the families that don’t know how they are going to make ends meet, for people close to retirement that have lost their benefits. We know how difficult it is to get a job in LE when you have had anything that throws up a red flag to a perspective employer. We have watched in awe as people have done much, much worse with no disciplinary actions or as Chody acts like his hands are tied, yet remarks in the hallway of the SO were enough to fire my husband. We’ve heard Chody brag about supporting veterans, yet he easily and without remorse fires veteran after veteran, my husband included.

In 2016, our granddaughter, 8 years old at the time, saved a three year old from drowning. Chody had just been elected in the primaries. He came to the awards ceremony in Hutto and gave her a coin. It felt great to see her receive the coin and have a positive interaction with LE. So to those of you that have had similar contact and feel a sense of loyalty towards him for that, we understand. We felt the same way. A challenge coin has an important history in LE and it used to mean something to get one. Now it’s used as a reward to get followers on Twitter.

Also read Buddy Falcon’s Statement for We The People March 2019 in Georgetown, Tx about Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody

I’ve been silent for over a year as I watched my husband lose his career and struggle with how to be encouraging to our dyslexic grandson, giving him hope that he could do whatever he wanted in life, while seeing that the mere mention of having dyslexia was used against him and cost him his job. When I saw a tweet from a Chody superfan make comments about fired deputies and commented that one had his wife write his reports, I knew where this was coming from but I remained silent. When I saw another tweet that literally named my husband, said he was a fired because he lied and because his wife wrote his reports because he was “dumb”, again I knew where this was coming from and I knew that my silence was over. I’m not unafraid. I fear retaliation. I recently used my school email for an Open Records Request, which is allowed, and my principal received a report of it from “a concerned citizen”. I hadn’t sent the request to a citizen, I had sent it to the SO. Sadly, I really never feel safe as a citizen of the county and the town that I love.

To be clear, I am still a supporter of law enforcement and I appreciate those that are as well. But if you truly want to support law enforcement, you need to understand that you cannot support Robert Chody and his administration. You have to support his victims. At last count, there were over 215. How many more will there be? To those wrongfully fired by him, we are there for you. To those still trying to make it day by day, we feel for you. But I plead with you to stand up for what’s right, even if it means losing your income. Because I can tell you that loss of income is nothing in the face of loss of integrity. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

See photos of Georgetown, Texas’s We the People March 2019.