Following a month-long investigation by the Texas Rangers, a former high-ranking officer in the Kyle Fire Department, Richard Craig Kolls, Jr., is facing criminal charges.
According to the Hays County Sheriff’s Office jail records, he was charged with abuse of official capacity, a Class A Misdemeanor, and with forgery, which is a Felony.
An arrest warrant for Kolls was signed on Monday by Justice of the Peace Margie Hernandez, Precinct 1, Place 2.
The former training division chief for the Kyle Fire Department resides in Caldwell County, according to jail documents. He is also listed as the assistant chief of the volunteer Chisholm Trail Fire Department as well as the board president of that agency on its website.
Beth Smith, president of the Emergency Service District 5, which oversees the Kyle Fire Department, said Kolls turned himself in Tuesday between 5:30 and 6 p.m. at the Hays County Sheriff’s Office in San Marcos. His bond was set at $11,500 according to arrest records.
Kolls was one of two top-level Kyle Fire Department administrators to have their positions eliminated earlier this month by ESD 5 commissioners due to budget cuts.
The investigation began prior to the reorganization, according to Smith, who contacted the Texas Rangers initially. As a Hays County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Smith said she was bound by oath to report any illegal activity once she became aware of it.
According to Kyle Fire Department Interim Chief Clay Huckaby, Kolls was allegedly conducting firefighter and EMT training courses in Hays County and around the region under the auspices of the Kyle Fire Department. The work included signing contracts that legally bound the department for up to $1 million in liability damages. Yet the invoices were in his name and the fees were paid directly to him and not reported to the department.
Sources close to the issue told the Hays Free Press that former Kyle Fire Department Chief Glenn Whitaker, who resigned in February, knew about Kolls and his illicit activity and was going to terminate him. Whitaker was supposedly persuaded by a now former fire department officer to put Kolls on probation for one year and require restitution of the funds. Kolls was still employed at the time Whitaker left the department.
Smith said the Texas Ranger’s investigation of Kolls is ongoing and it is possible additional charges may be filed. She would not comment on what those additional charges might be because she does not want to impede the investigation.
The Hays Free Press will provide ongoing coverage as the story continues.