FLETCHER, JOSEPH SIDNEY (1905 ~ 1966). Joseph Sidney "Joe" Fletcher, Texas Ranger and assistant director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, was born in Marysville, Cook County, Texas on July 27, 1905. He attended Maryville public schools and, after graduation, joined the Navy. After serving four years, 1922 to 1926, and being honorably discharged, he worked in California, but eventually returned to Texas. While living in Fort Worth, he was hired by the Texas Highway Department on October 15, 1931, to be a patrolman for the Texas Highway Motor Patrol.
After finishing his training, Fletcher served as a patrolman in Alpine, Odessa, Pecos and Big Spring. On October 15, 1935, after the Texas Department of Public Safety was created, he was transferred to Austin to work in the Bureau of Identification and Records. Fletcher worked as a finger print and handwriting expert before being named chief of the division in 1938. During this time he was also commissioned as a Texas Ranger.
On January 17, 1945, Homer Garrison, executive director of the department, named Fletcher acting assistant director. Later that same year, Garrison added to his duties by naming him acting chief of the Drivers License Division. After serving in this temporary capacity for nearly a year, Fletcher was promoted to Assistant Director and Lieutenant Colonel on September 16, 1945. As Assistant Director, he was in charge of the training schools, the operations of the communications bureau, which included the development of a state-wide network, and managing the day-to-day operations of the entire department.
With a law enforcement career that spanned over 30 years, Fletcher retired on April 18, 1962, and returned to Fort Worth, where he had recently been elected Secretary-General Manager of the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association. As the top administrator, Fletcher helped streamline the Association, the largest cattlemen's organization of its kind in the world, by establishing new policies in the brand inspection departments, in accounting procedures and in the various livestock programs. Through new training that he personally conducted in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety, Fletcher was able to turn the field inspectors into one of the most skilled and well trained cattle theft investigators in the nation. He also improved the efficiency of the market inspectors by introducing a new brand inspection reporting and recording system.
Throughout his career, Fletcher was a member of several civic and peace officers' associations, was president of the Texas Division of the International Association of Identification Experts and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Texas Employees Retirement System.
After suffering from a lengthy illness, Fletcher died on December 4, 1966. Because of his years of service to the State of Texas, Governor John Connally signed a proclamation allowing him and his wife, the former Billie Jones, to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery. Aside from his wife, Fletcher was survived by three children, Joe, Jr., Jerre, and Carol Lyn.
Information taken from: Ex-DPS Official Succumbs, The Austin American, Monday, December 5, 1966; Fletcher Funeral Pending, The Austin Statesman, Monday, December 5, 1966; Joe S. Fletcher Dies, The Cattleman, January, 1967; "TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Mon Dec 15 14:59:18 US/Central 2003]; and records in the Texas State Cemetery Archives.