Sources: NFL player Mario Williams at center of academy controversy
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Former Texans football star Mario Williams is at the center of a controversy that has shut down a local law enforcement academy. Effective immediately, Lone Star College is no longer allowed to conduct any new law enforcement training.
Our sources say it all started with allegations that Williams graduated without completing the required course work.
Williams is well on his way to becoming a law enforcement officer in Texas. He has the diploma to prove it.
But right now, state regulators are investigating if Lone Star College gave him special treatment to help him get that degree.
With six months of hard work finally paying off, a recent cadet class at the Lone Star Law Enforcement Academy was all smiles at last week's graduation ceremony. But this class is missing a very famous face -- former Texan and No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams.
Williams graduated early. He managed to complete the 660 hour course in just four months, nearly two months ahead of his classmates. He made an Instagram post on May 18 showing him at a Montgomery County Constable's Office and wrote, "Sworn in."
"How was he able to get through the program faster?" we asked academy instructor Larry Stewart.
"They made a schedule that he would do at night and weekends. That allowed him to do it a little faster than others," Stewart said.
In a recent radio interview, Williams was asked the same question.
"It's supposed to be six months, I actually did it in a condensed timeframe. I couldn't say an exact, day to day, but it was a four-month period I think. It was from the very beginning of the year. Man it was study after study, test after test. It was a load," he said.
Williams instructors told us at last week's graduation that the football star tackled the work like a pro.
"Was he there everyday in the classroom with everybody?" we asked Stewart.
"He was in the class there everyday," Stewart said.
"He did the full 660 hours of classroom instruction?" we asked.
"Yes. Yes," he said.
"What was it like spending 660 hours of classroom time with Mario Williams?" we asked class valedictorian Brad Hoover said.
"The first day, when he walked in, he could barely fit through the door. So that was intimidating," Hoover said.
A preliminary report obtained by 13 Undercover shows the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement got a complaint that a cadet did not get training or complete the course up to applicable standards.
In the report, the name of the cadet in question is blacked-out by the agency, but again, we've learned from multiple sources that the cadet is Mario Williams.
According to state investigators, the preliminary findings support the complaint's allegations.
"Was he in class everyday?" we asked Hoover said.
"Yeah, he was there a lot of the time," he said.
In a scathing letter, TCOLE executive director Kim Vickers told the school that "Until further notice, operation of the law enforcement training academy agreement is suspended" and that "Lone Star College is not authorized to conduct any further law enforcement training."
When state investigators went to the academy to investigate. They say they were met with an "institutional lack of cooperation," delays and a refusal to produce documents.
On July 9, law enforcement commission staffers evaluated the academy itself and found numerous violations of both statutes and rules.
And that's why they shut them down.
The agency says it has not yet contacted the cadet in question.
We tried to reach Williams through his new team in Buffalo, but were told he is traveling.
Lone Star College was unwilling to talk to us on camera about Williams. They did release a statement denying that they are under suspension. But the state says the suspension stands, though it will allow a current class to graduate next week.
13 undercover, brian collister
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