College Honors Memory of Slain Officer with Scholarship

The College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University established a scholarship fund in memory of Deputy Darren Goforth of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, who was brutally murdered in the line of duty, to help criminal justice majors pursue future careers in law enforcement.

“The death of Deputy Darren Goforth resounds deeply and painfully for criminal justice students at Sam Houston State University as the misdeed occurred in our backyard to one of the brothers of our discipline,” said Aaron Valadez, President of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, the largest criminal justice student organization at SHSU. “As students, we can honor the fallen by kindling an inextinguishable flame for their memory by assisting in the creation a scholarship. We pray for Officer Goforth's relatives, friends, and department for healing and peace, and we hope that this flame will flare brightly in remembrance of our late heroes to illuminate the future for peace officers.”

Donations will be accepted in Deputy Goforth’s name through the Division of University Advancement, Sam Houston State University, Box 2537, Bobby K. Marks Administration Building, Suite 120, Huntsville, TX 77341-2537. For more information, contact the office at (936) 294-3625.

“This tragic loss of Deputy Darren Goforth through a senseless murder struck at the very heart of the criminal justice system,” said Dr. Phillip Lyons, Dean of the College and Director of the Criminal Justice Center. “Through this scholarship, authorized by the Goforth family, Darren’s legacy will live on in the good work done by future generations of law enforcement officers whose education will be supported in his name.”

Deputy Goforth, 47, was executed by an assailant as the uniformed officer pumped gas into his patrol car on Aug. 28 in Cypress. He is survived by his wife Kathleen Goforth and two children, a daughter Ava and a son Ryan, as well as countless family and friends. His death prompted an outpouring of support for law enforcement in the community, including the campus of Sam Houston State University, where students from Phi Delta Theta collected signatures of support on a banner that will be presented to his wife.

The law enforcement community is particularly hard hit by the loss and professional institutes at SHSU, including the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas (CMIT), also contributed to the scholarship fund.

“Deputy Goforth is now known as a peace officer who dedicated his life to serving others,” said Dr. Rita Watkins, Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT). “He is a reminder of the risks of the job, but it doesn’t diminish the role of a peace officer serving others. That is the legacy Deputy Goforth has given us.”

The College of Criminal Justice is one of the oldest and largest programs in the United States, educating undergraduate and graduate students in pursuit of careers in law enforcement, corrections, victim services, forensic science and homeland security. In addition to its academic programs, the College hosts several professional institutes that advance research and practices in the field, including LEMIT, CMIT, the Police Research Center, the Crime Victims’ Institute, and the Institute for Forensic Research, Training and Innovation. It has been recognized as a national leader for setting standards in criminal justice.

Member of The Texas State University System