Polk County Sheriff’s Office terminates detective accused of harassment

Austin McCracken is accused of improper conduct in his work as a detective with the Polk County...
Austin McCracken is accused of improper conduct in his work as a detective with the Polk County Sheriff's Office.(Polk County Jail)
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 1:18 PM CDT
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POLK COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has fired a detective accused of inappropriate interactions with a private citizen.

According to a press release, on April 12, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint in reference to conduct unbecoming against Det. Austin McCracken. The complaint stated McCracken had contacted a woman on Facebook Messenger after he had stopped her for a traffic violation and issued her a citation. During the conversation over Facebook Messenger, McCracken advised her he was changing her ticket to a warning. McCracken then started asking the female personal and inappropriate questions as if he was soliciting for a date. An internal investigation was started and McCracken was suspended from the Sheriff’s Office until the outcome of the investigation.

On April 14, McCracken was terminated from employment by the chief deputy. However, the press release states McCracken immediately appealed the termination to the sheriff. Prior to his appeal hearing with the sheriff, McCracken resigned from the sheriff’s office while under investigation.

The criminal aspect of the investigation was turned over to the Texas Rangers. On Monday, McCracken was arrested and charged with Misuse of Official Information, which is a third degree felony. McCracken was booked into the Polk County Jail and given a $5,000 bond by Justice of the Peace Darrell Longino.

Sheriff Byron Lyons said he wishes to express to the public that he will not tolerate this type of behavior from his employees.

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