Masonic Lodge in Copperas Cove recognizes two law enforcement officers at Respect for Rule of Law Ceremony
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 595 of Copperas Cove recognized two individuals, from Central Texas College and Fort Hood, with the lodge’s award for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year during the 45th Respect for the Rule of Law ceremony held Tuesday evening at the lodge.
This year’s ceremony marked a momentous occasion with the lodge recognizing two officers and also recognizing individuals from organizations that have not been recognized in the lodge’s history.
The lodge recognized Sgt. Dexter Ferdinand, of the Central Texas College Police Department, and Sgt. Jesse C. Mora IV, of the 411th MP Company at Fort Hood.
“It is our privilege this year to recognize two such individuals, both from departments we have never recognized before, and long overdue, I might add,” said Jim Cooney, chairman of the Selection Committee for 2022. “The Masonic Order has long recognized our personal and fraternal responsibilities to obey and support our law enforcement departments and the laws they're sworn to support, defend, and even enforce. One of the first charges given to a new Entered Apprentice Mason, following his initiation, states that as a citizen, he is to be a quiet and peaceful subject, true to his government, and just to his country. He is not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently subject to legal authority and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which he resides, wherever that may be, and I can assure you that we as Masons do not take that charge lightly.”
Cooney said that the Lodge’s Selection Committee received several outstanding recommendations and could not select just one to honor this year.
The first recipient, Sgt. Dexter Ferdinand is a member of the Central Texas College Police Department. His recommendation was submitted by CTC Police Chief Joseph Barragan.
Ferdinand served in the Army for more than 17 years before retiring. He finished the Central Texas College Police Academy in April 2007 and was hired by the Copperas Cove Police Department in August that same year. He served with CCPD for 12 years. He holds a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Master Peace Officer certificate.
He joined the Central Texas College Police Department in June 2019 as a police sergeant, “bringing excellent professional attributes, experience, education and training to the college,” according to the recommendation, read aloud by Cooney.
“‘Sgt. Fernand is an invaluable asset who currently supervises five police officers and 11 safety officers,’” Cooney continued. “‘In addition to having an array of responsibilities ranging from being Second in Command, he's the chief investigator, background investigator, property evidence custodian and training officer. He is unselfishly dedicated to duty in serving the students, staff and faculty of Central Texas College. He exemplifies a guardian character in policing, having represented Central Texas College Police Department with integrity and the highest level of professionalism.’”
Ferdinand said that he was very appreciative of the recognition and was honored to accept the award.
Sgt. Jesse Mora, of the 411th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion of Fort Hood, was recommended by the Battalion Detective Officer on behalf of the 720th Military Police Battalion command group, according to Cooney.
“I understand that he was selected by a command board from individuals nominated by each company commander,” Cooney added.
Sgt. Mora “has been the definition of a professional,” Cooney read from the recommendation. “He is constantly recognized for his professional appearance and knowledge of his work, his leadership in stressful situations and willingness to continue to improve himself and others around him. He embodies the Military Police Regimental Motto of “Assist, protect and defend” every day.”
Mora was most recently involved in the felony apprehension of a suspected serial rapist and also in the apprehension of a suspected murderer.
“‘Sgt. Mora’s quick reaction, calm demeanor and critical thinking skills lead to successful outcomes in both of these situations,’” Cooney read.
Sgt. Mora has performed duties as a patrol officer and has since been promoted where he currently serves as a patrol supervisor. He has also volunteered to attend supplemental training courses, such as becoming certified on radar and LIDAR equipment and a standardized field sobriety test, which has led to an increase in his ability to deter careless and reckless driving.
Mora also is constantly involved in local outreach programs such as local parades, the BLORA Nature in Lights and more.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to come off post and be recognized by anyone other than the military, so I do thank you all for this,” Mora said as he accepted the award.
He added that he was thankful to the leadership who recommended him for the award.
“I wasn’t expecting this, so it's definitely a great, great opportunity for me to come here experience all of this and actually get this plaque as well, so I do appreciate it,” Mora said. “Law enforcement is in my heart.”