Long-ago conviction a problem for Lacy Lakeview fire chief


Lacy Lakeview's new fire chief could face certification issues because of a criminal record that includes a long-ago felony auto theft.

Adrian Huff, a longtime Lacy Lakeview volunteer firefighter and captain, was hired in early fall 2023 by City Manager Calvin Hodde for the city's paid position overseeing a largely volunteer force. He had one year to obtain full licensure as chief of the Texas Fire Protection Commission.


Lacy Lakeview VFD, provided

The state commission certifies full-time firefighters, department chiefs, fire investigators and other roles in fire departments. The fire protection commission establishes background check and service requirements for licensing department heads.

Chiefs of a volunteer department must have 10 years of experience as an active volunteer firefighter, a requirement that Huff meets.

But Huff's 1979 felony conviction for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle could bar him from getting a license.

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Chapter 403 of the Texas Administrative Code allows the commission to deny or revoke his license as a department head for a conviction of a property crime under Title 6 of the Texas Penal Code.

Huff was convicted of carjacking as a felony under that law and sentenced to serve two to four years in a state penitentiary, court records show. He applied for parole after two years, and Judge Walter Smith of the 54th State District Court did not oppose the request, court records show.

“I served my time for this,” Huff said Tuesday. “I don't wear a shirt that says I'm an ex-offender but I don't deny it either.”

The commission has discretion to consider “extenuating circumstances” in deciding whether to deny or grant a license to an applicant with a criminal record. The commission may consider the nature and seriousness of the crime, the age of the offender at the time and his employment and criminal history since the offense, in accordance with the rules of the commission. The commission also has an appeals process for these cases.

It's unclear if Huff is asking for a waiver or if he's even applied for the license. The Texas Fire Protection Commission has no record of Huff applying for a license as a department chief, officials said Friday.

Huff declined to comment on his current job, saying he would speak to the Tribune-Herald only about his history before taking the job.

City Manager Hodde did not respond to numerous phone and in-person requests this week for comment on the fire chief's employment and other fire department issues.

Huff said he disclosed the conviction on his job application with the city of Lacy Lakeview.

Huff said he was about 18 when he took the car.

“I was trying to get away from a really bad situation in Houston,” Huff said.

He arrived in McLennan County and later found a car that was unlocked with the keys inside, Huff said. He drove him to Mexia, where his girlfriend lived, Huff said.

“I left it downtown,” Huff said. “When the sheriff's deputy came to pick me up, I admitted what I had done and went with him.”

Huff was also arrested in 2011 on a felony charge of altering a government record after requesting to appear at Bellmead City Hall. McLennan County Sheriff's Office officials at the time accused him of signing the application stating he had no felony convictions, which disqualifies candidates for office in Texas.

Huff defeated Doss Youngblood for the Bellmead position, but could not be seated because of state law, the Tribune-Herald reported at the time.

“I fought those charges, because I didn't think what I did was temper with a record,” Huff said this week. “I signed something without reading it first.”

Huff said she filled out two documents with the city clerk and for the last document she asked him to sign, she didn't read until after she signed it.

“After I signed it I saw it was a statement that I had never been convicted of a crime and she was about to notice,” Huff said. “But I just let it go.”

In that 2011 case, Huff received deferred probation as a sentence and completed probation in August 2017, meaning he was never adjudicated guilty, court records show. In the order to release Huff from probation, Judge Matt Johnson indicated that Huff could apply for a non-disclosure order for the case in 2022.

“I didn't see the need to pay a lawyer for this,” Huff said.

McLennan County volunteer firefighters discuss funding challenges for the service they provide.


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