For almost 30 years, Brenda Slovak worked hard to keep Keller safe. From traffic patrol and criminal investigations to hostage negotiator and commander of the North Tarrant Regional SWAT team, Slovak worked her way through the Keller Police Department ranks to become a captain.
Slovak, 56, died July 25 after a long battle with cancer but the legacy she left behind will live on, said Michael Wilson, Keller police chief.
"She was as enthusiastic and driven to help others on her first day as an officer as she was on her last," Wilson said. "She just really lived the values and ethics that you expect in a law enforcement officer. She was tenacious and committed to serving."
Only the third woman to be hired by Keller Police Department in February 1988, she set an example for everyone, said Wilson,
"We will be honoring her. The biggest thing is to demonstrate the traits she showed every day, Wilson said. "Her knowledge and wisdom and approach was an extremely valuable asset."
She was the project leader when the department sought national accreditation in 2006. That status requires the department to meet or exceed more than 450 national standards and subjects.
In 2011, Slovak led the investigation into the high-profile Michele Williams case where a Keller mom gave differing accounts of her husband’s death. Williams was later convicted of murder and tampering with evidence.
Slovak also busted a multimillion-dollar burglary ring that spread across several cities.
When Keller teamed up with Southlake, Colleyville, Westlake, Trophy Club and Roanoke to form the North Tarrant Regional SWAT team, Slovak’s experience as a hostage negotiator commander prompted her peers to pick her to lead that team, too.
Before Keller, Slovak worked for the police departments at Texas Woman’s University and Dallas County Community College. In all, she spent 37 years in law enforcement.
Wilson released a statement that described Slovak as a warrior with quiet confidence, thick skin and limitless patience.
"If Keller seems a little darker today, it’s because we’ve lost a beacon of strength, courage and compassion," Wilson said in the statement. "We’re heartbroken to share news of the death of Police Captain Brenda Slovak, who passed away overnight after a long battle with cancer."