Terry Keel is a fifth generation Austinite, born in Austin on January 13, 1958 and raised in a family of six boys and one girl. His background as an attorney includes extensive experience as a courtroom and appellate litigator. He also has a public service career spanning more than three decades. Mr. Keel is currently serving fulltime as an appointed state official.
Assistant Commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture, January 12, 2015 to present. Mr. Keel serves as the Assistant Commissioner for Administration with responsibility for human resources, support services, licensing and administrative duties related to agriculture and consumer protection. The Texas Department of Agriculture is headquartered in Austin and also has numerous regional and field offices throughout the state, employing over 600 personnel.
Executive Director, Texas Facilities Commission, December 31, 2009 to January 11, 2015. The Commission, appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House, administers for departments of state government the assignment of office space, lease procurement, space planning, facilities maintenance & operations, facilities master planning, real estate acquisition, project management in architecture, engineering, design & construction, and state & federal surplus property administration.
Parliamentarian, Texas House of Representatives, May 25, 2007 to January 13, 2009. Mr. Keel served as the counselor to the Speaker and Texas House members on matters of legislative procedure and applicable provisions of the Texas Constitution and state statutes.
State Representative, District 47, Austin, January 14, 1997 to January 9, 2007. Mr. Keel served five terms as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the Austin area. He was selected by the House Speaker to be Chairman of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence (78th and 79th sessions), Chairman of the House Select Interim Committee on Sex Offender Statutes (78th session), and Chairman of the Select Committee on Election Contests (79th session). Rep. Keel also served as Vice Chair of the Committee on Public Safety (76th and 77th sessions), a member of the General Investigating and Ethics Committee (76th, 77th, 78th, 79th sessions), the Judiciary Committee (79th session) and House Administration Committee (79th session). Rep. Keel authored numerous legislative measures, including major public safety and criminal justice enactments. Mr. Keel also served for several years as a lecturer on the subjects of criminal law and criminal profiling at the Austin Police Department Training Academy. In May 1999 Representative Keel was named an honorary member of the Austin Police Association in recognition for his work as a legislator and his prior service as Travis County Sheriff and Assistant District Attorney.
Sheriff, Travis County, November 17, 1992 to January 1, 1997. Terry Keel served as the county's chief law enforcement officer, supervising a staff of over 1,200 corrections and law enforcement personnel. Sheriff Keel successfully managed inmate populations exceeding 2,500 during the worst jail over-crowding era in Travis County history and established a program for housing jail prisoners in tents. He implemented numerous innovative initiatives, including: the construction of corrections facilities using inmate labor; the expansion of inmate agriculture, labor and education programs; the establishment of a professional victim services program with a crime-scene response; and the formation of joint law enforcement operations between the Travis County Sheriff's Office and the Austin Police Department in the areas of narcotics, criminal intelligence and training. Sheriff Keel received many distinguished law enforcement and civic awards during his tenure, including the Law Enforcement Commendation Medal from the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Assistant District Attorney, Travis County, July 23, 1984 to November 17, 1992. Mr. Keel served as lead prosecutor in over fifty contested felony jury trials and held the position of Chief Prosecutor over several units, including: Major Crimes, Narcotics, Organized Crime, District Court, Child Abuse and Juvenile Prosecution. From 1987 to 1991 Mr. Keel also was assigned to Austin Police Department headquarters to establish and supervise the District Attorney's Office & Austin Police Department Repeat Offender Program. This joint program, which targeted career criminals for apprehension and prosecution, was one of the first of its kind in the United States, consisting of specially trained prosecutors and police officers. As Chief of the Repeat Offender Program Unit, Keel participated in the arrest of over 200 felony career criminals and the service of more than 100 search warrants. In addition, he was designated as the lead prosecutor in numerous capital murder, homicide, sexual assault and attempted capital murder cases, including the first courtroom case in Texas using PCR DNA. During his service as Assistant District Attorney, Keel received numerous honors and awards, including three certificates of appreciation from the Chief of the Austin Police Department (1986, 1991, 1992), awards from the Austin Police Association for the prosecution of career criminals (1986), for homicide prosecution (1989), and capital murder prosecution (1992), and award recognitions from the A.P.D. Sex Crimes Detail (1985), Hispanic Police Officers Association (1988) and Hispanic Crimes Unit (1988).
Assistant District Attorney, Brazos County, April 1, 1983 to July 23, 1984. Mr. Keel was selected by the Brazos County District Attorney to begin working as an Assistant D. A. prior to graduation from law school under the State Bar program authorizing third-year law students to practice law under attorney supervision. Upon graduation and licensure he continued with the office and his assignments during his service with Brazos County included two capital cases.
University of Texas at Austin - Bachelor of Arts in English conferred August 18, 1980
Austin Community College – Associate of Arts in Foreign Language May 1980
LBJ High School, Austin, Texas-diploma conferred May 26, 1976 (Senior Class President)
Professional Licenses and Memberships
Mr. Keel was also appointed by the District Attorney of Hays County to serve as a special prosecutor before the Hays County grand jury in 1999 - 2000. He has received multiple recognitions by the State Bar of Texas for making outstanding contributions to the delivery of legal services to low income Texans.
Mr. Keel holds a Master Peace Officer license and is additionally certified as an instructor of peace officers by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. From 1990 to 1996 he served as the penal code instructor for the Austin Police Department Training Academy and from 2002 to 2005 the academy’s instructor on criminal profiling.
From 1997 to 2003 Mr. Keel served as an appointee of the Texas Attorney General to the Advisory Council of the Crime Victim's Institute. He served as a member of the St. Edwards University School of Behavioral and Social Sciences Advisory Board from 1995 to 2007.
Other Recognitions and Awards (partial listing)
President's Award from the Travis County Sheriff's Law Enforcement Association
Texas State Rifle Association
Doc Brown Legislator of the Year Award
S.C.W.A. Legislative Excellence Award Recipient
Peoples Champion Award
People for Efficient Transportation
Texas Library Association
Outstanding Service to Libraries Award
Texas District and County Attorneys Association
TDCAA Law & Order Award
(in recognition of service to the Texas criminal justice system)
Texas Municipal Police Association
Legislative Excellence Award
(for commitment to law enforcement and criminal justice)
Texas Association of Business
Fighter for Free Enterprise Award
(for service in the 77th Legislative Session)
Austin Police Department Training Academy
(for service as Instructor to the Police Department)
TDCJ Crime Victim Clearinghouse
"Senator Ralph Yarborough Allied Professional Award"
(for substantial contribution to victims’ rights and services)
Austin Fire Fighters Association
(in recognition of support to the profession)
Commission on State Emergency Communications
(for service on the Agency Board from 1995-1999)
The University of Texas System Board of Regents
(for service to the University of Texas System)
Texas Library Association
(resolution in honor and recognition of Representative Keel)
Amicus Dermatological Award
Texas Dermatological Society
(for service in the Legislature)
The Society for Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(recognizing service to the organization and the community)
Published Articles (partial listing)
Criminal Law Changes to the Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure
Texas Bar Journal, September 2003
Changes to the Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure by the 77th Legislature
Texas Bar Journal, September 2001
Criminal Law Update-76th Legislative Session
Texas Bar Journal, September 1999
Videotaped Testimony of Child Victims
True Bill-the Newsletter of the Prosecutor Council, June 1984