|Stephen Dean/KPRC Photo|
By: Max Rodriguez, Backgate Website
KPRC Channel 2 News Investigative reporter Stephen Dean is headed back to his native Ohio after spending years working at the Houston NBC news affiliate. Dean broke news that made city and state government agencies cringe. He was the cornerstone of the TDCJ Terrell unit investigation in 2008 that eventually led to a Senate Hearing being called by Legislators to put the TDCJ in the hot seat regarding corruption.
On the air in Houston since 1995, Dean's investigative reporting led to the dismantling of an entire police force. Shady characters were spotted with badges all around Houston and Dean traced them to one wealthy citizen, who had found a legal loophole allowing him to create a fully licensed police department. When Dean's reports hit the airwaves, a grand jury convened to consider criminal charges, the police force was required to disband, and the Texas Legislature responded by closing the loophole that allowed it to happen.
In 2005, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters awarded Dean statewide "Best Reporter" honors for his colorful and dramatic live coverage of breaking news. The same group named him the sole winner of its "Freedom of Information Award" four years in a row for his ability to overcome obstacles in digging through public records. He also won the State Bar of Texas "Gavel Award" for five years in a row for his legal reporting.
Stephen spoke to the Backgate this morning and wanted us to relay a message to all TDCJ employees. In an email he forwarded he wrote:
" After 17-years of reporting heavily on TDC issues and other law enforcement in Texas, I am heading home to Ohio.
I have enjoyed working with your group ( The Backgate ), and I only wish there was such an organization standing up for employees of the Ohio corrections system, where I will now be focused. I covered that system heavily, including the longest prison riot in the nation's history when I worked in Columbus from 1989 until coming here in 1995. It has been a pleasure and an honor and I wish your loyal workers well moving forward."
- Stephen Dean
We wish you luck and success Stephen, and thanks for all you have done in the name of ethics!