Sheriff's deputy makes a difference
For Harris County Sheriff's Deputy John Mook, 49, one of the nicest aspects of Chimney Hill's park-naming ceremony in his honor Oct. 5 was the opportunity to reunite with some of the subdivision's residents.
"I got to talk to a lot of the parents who said I made a difference in their children's lives," said Mook, who was transferred to the sheriff's Gang Suppression Unit last year after more than 13 years of work in the northwest-area subdivision as a contract deputy focused on gang activity.
His work led to a national, multiagency investigation in the neighborhood and the arrest of several known gang members.
Chimney Hill held the park dedication in Mook's honor during its National Night Out activities. The park is located at 13720 Smokey Trail Drive.
"It certainly was a great honor," Mook said. "In 13½ years, I made a lot of friends."
Mook, who also has served in the U.S. Army's military police, began his civilian law enforcement career about 20 years ago.
He used to start his shifts in Chimney Hill around the time the kids in the neighborhood were getting home from school.
"Occasionally there would be times when they'd screw up in school and get into trouble, and I'd be called to the house to talk to them," Mook said.
"It was terrific for me that the parents trusted me enough not only to call me, but to have me in the house.
"You can't go into the community and just be the police. You have to be a resource."
About 95 percent of the kids in the neighborhood ultimately chose a crime-free path, he said.
And in some cases, when kids did choose crime, they later admitted what they had done to Mook.
A number of parents agreed to work with him, too, when they suspected their kids of criminal activity.
"I think it is important for those in law enforcement to form those long-term relationships," Mook said.
Mook said he continues to visit friends in Chimney Hill and still gets occasional requests for advice.
Chimney Hill resident Jim Navarro said he chose to live in the Chimney Hill subdivision on the recommendation of another law enforcement officer, who told him Mook kept Chimney Hill safe.
Today, Navarro said, he counts Mook among his closest friends.
"I miss having him here," Navarro said.
"John always went the extra distance," he said. "And it's not just me, John cared about the whole neighborhood."
Mook and his wife, Kay, have three children, Jonathon, 28; Christopher, 22; and Stephanie, 20.