The Texas Department of Public Safety is mourning the loss of retired DPS Chief Adolph Thomas Sr., also known as the first black Trooper in Texas, who they said had a distinguished 27-year career with the department.

“Texas has lost a true law enforcement professional," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "During his time with the DPS, Chief Thomas broke through many glass ceilings because of his perseverance, hard work and education. He was known for his integrity, he led by example, and he promoted professionalism throughout his career.”

The DPS said Chief Thomas died on Sunday.

“It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” continued McGraw. “Chief Thomas took that first step in 1968, and for nearly three decades, he blazed a trail that few will match but many have since proudly followed,” continued Director McCraw. “We are grateful for Chief Thomas’ many years of selfless service and sacrifice, and for protecting the people of this great state. We will continue to keep his family, friends and many colleagues in our prayers in the weeks and months to come.”

Chief Thomas joined the department in 1968, the DPS reported. After graduating from recruit school and serving as a Texas Highway Patrolman, he was promoted to Narcotics Agent in 1972. Throughout his career, the DPS said he served in a number of positions of “great authority and responsibility,” eventually earning the title of Chief of Staff Services in 1993. He retired in 1996, later being recognized with a Senate Resolution for his 27 years of exemplary service.

The DPS said Chief Thomas was well known for his expertise in law enforcement policies and procedures, case preparation, undercover drug investigations and a number of other key law enforcement disciplines. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the then Southwest Texas State University and was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Southwest Legal Foundation.

Services for Chief Thomas will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Meadowlawn Funeral Home in San Antonio, Texas.