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Texas Legislature – What every law enforcement officer needs to know

1998 October 26

What every law enforcement officer needs to know

about proposals affecting them in the

Texas Legislature

This publication was authorized by a unanimous vote of the Bexar County Sheriff Support Division and Interested Texas Peace Officers in cooperation with the Reserve Law Officers Association of America, P.O. Box 17807, San Antonio, TX 78217. No public funds were used to prepare this publication and the information herein does not necesarrily reflect the opinions of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

 

UNITY OF PURPOSE, for the good of everyone, defines the single most important aspect of any group effort and happens only when the group shares the same level of understanding.

The article is based on eight years of actual work on this problem and the input from dozens of individuals and several appeals court decisions. It can help achieve a legitimate ‘unity of purpose’ because this initiative serves everyone by improving the public safety and welfare.

INSIDE:

  • “Unity of Purpose” – the common sense plan for a comprehensive legislative initiative.
  • Bill introduced to abolish the Private Security Board.
  • Summaries of Bills considered by the 1997 Legislature..
  • Names and adddresses of Legislative Committee members.
  • What some groups have already done. (Sample Resolutions).

What any interested person or any Peace Officer,

whether paid, retired, or volunteer should understand

before charging off to the legislature.

UNITY OF PURPOSE,

for the good of everyone, defines the single most important aspect of any group effort

and happens only when the group shares the same level of understanding.

A 6-page paper, based on 8-years of actual work on this problem and the input from dozens of individuals and several appeals court decisions, can help us achieve a ‘unity of purpose’. It provides all of the information necessary to successfully argue a position good for all officers and for the general public.

The first page summarizes reasons for legislative changes and the necessary goals in order to implement the changes. The remaining five pages provides just enough detail to enable any individual to make a decent argument. Do not assume peace officers or legislators understand this issue. Most do not. They will have to be educated.

You might be one of any number of people who honestly believe you can dash up to the legislature, throw some money around, use some catchy sound bites, and get a law passed. For the most part, it really does not work that way. Lobbyists actually spend a lot of time explaining their global position. They have well rehearsed arguments carefully structured so they appear to know what they are talking about.

If you want to help all peace officers, volunteer, full time, or retired, you need to understand what you are talking about. Do not think because you have read the 6-page document, that you know how to explain it. That would be a naive and stupid assumption. Try a little role playing with a compadre taking the other side and you’ll see what we mean.

Real UNITY OF PURPOSE begins with you being able to provide the REASONS FOR CHANGE: You will have to be able to smoothly explain the all important background: the original intent of existing pieces of legislation. Then you must demonstrate how the current paradigm is ‘irrational’ (not rational) based on comparing the original intent with the current legislation’s shortcoming(s).

Now you can justify the GOALS OF CHANGE: 1. Proper definition of what constitutes a ‘Peace Officer’; 2. Remove all references to definitions based on ‘Employment’; 3. Remove all TCLEOSE License control from the Private Security Act and; 4. Exclude all Peace Officers from ‘Right To Carry’ restrictions.

The most well intentioned individual who appears to be partially informed will invariably be treated in a patronizing fashion. These well meaning folks will ‘think’ they are making real progress and will be excited about talking to various legislators. They are to be commended for their willingness to work for change, but they will generally get exactly what the uninformed ‘special interest’ initiate always gets: ‘Patronized’, sent on a ‘snipe’ hunt, ‘insulted’ without ever realizing it happened.

Do not waste your time by being unable to argue intelligently. Either be properly informed on the global picture so you can a make a case for real change, or get set to be disappointed! Do not be over impressed with the ‘power’ of certain special interest groups because they appear to exercise a lot of control.

They do have some influence due to contributions, but when any of their ‘self serving’ ideas are properly challenged, leverage vanishes! If you want to win support from regular officers and from legislators, then carefully study the ‘Unity’ document. Learn to smoothly spin out the arguments, then present your case … face to face.

Through a Unity of Purpose, we will find support for the Reasons and for every one of the four Goals because this common sense plan works for all Commissioned Peace Officers, volunteer, full time, and retired, while at the same time promoting our reason for being … the all important … public safety and welfare!

UNITY OF PURPOSE SUMMARY

1. REASONS for legislative changes:

A. The legislature’s original intent with the Private Security Act was to: Ensure that security officers have adequate training, certification, and experience in order to protect the public safety and welfare within property boundaries described by the act, excluding public roadways.

B. The TCLEOSE Statute was created to protect the public safety and welfare on public and private properties in Texas including public roadways.

C. The baseline or minimum standard for Private Security training, certification, and experience was established in the Private Security Act: 30 hours training, cursory background check, minimum firearm training – 30 rounds at 15 yards.

D. Exclusion of any Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensee represents an irrational means to protect public safety and welfare because:

a. The TCLEOSE training & certification process for all licenses commissioned exceeds the Act’s baseline seven to twenty times, therefore, ‘full time’ vs ‘reserve’ ‘paid’ vs ‘unpaid’ – etc., are specious and irrational arguments.

b. All Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensees gain superior experience working with their respective agencies on all public and private properties in Texas including roadways.

c. All Commissioning Agencies of TCLEOSE Licensees exercise superior methods of selection and control over their respective commissions exceeding the Act’s baseline by a factor of at least ten times.

Law agencies rigidly control ‘Off Duty Work’ of commissioned officers. This, coupled with high standards of training and selection effectively eliminate ‘liability’ as an issue.

2. GOALS of legislative changes:

A. Exclude TCLEOSE Licensees Commissioned by any City, County, or State Agency from The Private Security Act.

B. Define the term ‘Peace Officer’ to mean: All TCLEOSE Licensees Commissioned by any City, County, Or State Agency; or Commissioned by any Federal Law Enforcement Agency.

C. Eliminate all definitions and/or constraints of Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensees based on the word or definition of: ‘Employment’.

D. Exclude Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensees from Law(s) restricting or controlling the carrying of handguns or weapons in public or private places anywhere in Texas.

1. REASONS for legislative changes EXPLAINED: The Private Security Act and The TCLEOSE Statute were both enacted in 1969 during the 61st Legislature, Regular Session.

The Private Security Act: The Private Detectives, Private Investigators, Private Patrolmen, Private Guards and Managers Act, Chapter 610, Article 4413 (29bb), Vernon’s Annotated Civil Statutes, subsequently becoming Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 4413 (29bb) § 3(A)(3) (Vernon 1995). Purpose was to regulate and set training, testing, and licensing standards for all forms of private security.

The TCLEOSE Statute: The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) Act, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 4413 (29aa) (Vernon 1995). Purpose was to regulate and set training, testing, and licensing standards for commissioned peace officers.

The Background: Since 1969, there has been several concerted efforts by the Private Security Industry to insert wording into legislation, particularly the Private Security Act, for the purpose of eliminating all TCLEOSE Licensees from performing ‘off duty’ security work as Peace Officers in their official uniforms.

Peace Officers have a long history of working off duty performing private security work. While tax dollars do support their offices, those dollars are spread across the entire community and do not focus on certain properties or events which would need a constant security presence for short time periods. This prompted certain individuals, groups, and businesses to seek out peace officers who could provide this service when off duty. They sought out peace officers because the community held them in higher regard than a private security guard. Experience has time and again proven security guards very ineffective in certain situations.

There are actually only four types of so-called ‘security’ work.

1. Businesses offering products and/or services to the general public;

2. People who need personal protection;

3. Property to be secured, such as a warehouse or a business structure after hours; and

4. Private property with access restricted to the people who work there.

In the first two types (1. & 2.), the odds are higher that there will be incidents of law violations by interpersonal conflicts and/or mischief. The superior training, authority, and experience of a Peace Officer time and again has proven to be far more effective than a private security guard, when protecting the public’s safety and welfare, whether that officer is a volunteer, part-time, or full time member of any given agency.

The last two types (3. & 4.), work well even with the poor background checks, abbreviated training, diminished authority, and limited experience of a Security Guard, because the exposure to potential interpersonal conflicts and/or mischief will be minimal.

During the years preceding the Private Security Act and the TCLEOSE Statute, problems arose from time to time, primarily with so-called ‘private security guards’ and ‘private detectives’. Additionally, there were no real standards in Texas for peace officers so the quality of training and personnel varied widely across the state. By the late 1960’s it was apparent that some standards needed to be adopted, so the two separate pieces of legislation mentioned above was enacted to control private security and peace officers.

The first serious challenge included all Peace Officers. The Private Security Industry claimed that it was a violation of the Texas Constitution for them to perform private security services because ‘…no government official may use their office for personal gain.’ Apparently more than one Texas Attorney General had ruled that it was indeed a violation of the state constitution because the commissioning entity (Sheriff, Police Chief, Constable, DPS Chief, etc.) was using tax dollars to support their government position, therefore working off duty for pay constituted ‘…using their office for personal gain.’

These liberal interpretations created a small crisis which threatened to escalate into a major war between full time Peace Officers and the Private Security Industry. Clearly, the intent of that part of our state’s constitution was written to prevent an officeholder from charging for services that would normally be provided by the office. It was not written to prevent services, not normally available, from being provided by the officeholder.

For example, every major city in the state will have a parade during the year. When that happens additional officers must be provided, some working overtime, and others working ‘off duty’. Following the logic used in the ‘unconstitutional’ opinion, these parades could not be held by sponsoring private non-profit organizations because taxes used to pay officers working overtime and organization funds used to pay officers working off duty, could easily be interpreted as ‘use of office for personal gain’. Clearly, the general community views such activities in a way contrary to that of the so-called attorney general interpretation.

In any case, the issue came to a head when representatives of regular officers notified the private security lobby, ‘If you force this issue, we will open the largest Private Security Company in the state and run every one of you out of business’. The private security industry wisely decided it might be best to let this sleeping dog lay.

They did leverage a partial agreement by playing on the ‘territorial egos’ of full time officers, about half of whom have traditionally resented ‘reserve or volunteer officers’, viewing them incorrectly as interlopers who cut into their public image and who also represent a threat to ‘off duty’ revenues. So a compromise was reached between these two groups and the Private Security Act was amended to exclude all but so-called ‘full time’ officers from off duty revenues.

The fact is this: There are right at 50,000 Commissioned Peace Officers in Texas. If every one of the estimated 7,500 volunteers (‘reserves’) were to seek private security work, they would not prevent one full time officer from seeking and finding off duty work. That concern amounts to a Chicken Little mentality because the sheer volume of available jobs far outstrips the ability of full time officers to respond.

Private Security Companies normally charge a business $12 per hour for the services of an armed security guard. The security company pays the armed guard $5 to $6 an hour. If a uniformed Commissioned Peace Officer is hired by the same business, all $12 goes to the officer.

As a matter of record there are a number of volunteer Peace Officers who also have a private security guard license and work for $5 or $6 an hour because the present law does not allow them to work in their agency uniform. If they were allowed to do that, then the pay would be $12 an hour. In this example, the change would not affect one full time peace officer!

Furthermore, virtually all officers must get permission from their agency to work off duty. The type and amount of hours allowed for off duty work is controlled by the agency. Therefore, any arguments claiming ‘reserves’ would intrude on the off duty dollars of full time officers are completely invalid and irrational.

There is one other consideration, normally overlooked by those ‘full time’ officers who now want to exclude ‘reserves’. One day that ‘full time’ officer will retire, or might choose another career. In that case, they are likely to maintain a commission and might want to work that choice off duty job they have served for years. Under the present paradigm, that will not happen, because they are no longer ‘full time’!

Of course the inaccurate argument developed, by both of those self serving groups mentioned above, to justify their legislative action, stated ‘reserves’ did not have enough training. Most of what they said and might say today amount to specious statements which have absolutely nothing to do with the central issue: The Legislature’s Original Intention when they created the Private Security Act and the TCLEOSE Statute.

A. The legislature’s original intent with the Private Security Act was to: Ensure that security officers have adequate training, certification, and experience in order to protect the public safety and welfare within property boundaries described by the act, excluding public roadways.

B. The TCLEOSE Statute was created to protect the public safety and welfare on public and private properties in Texas including public roadways.

C. The baseline or minimum standard for Private Security training, certification, and experience was established in the Private Security Act: 30 hours training, superficial background check, minimum firearm training – 30 rounds at 15 yards.

Clearly, the legislature believed the following standards are sufficient to protect the ‘public safety and welfare’ or these rules would not have been adopted. 30 Hours of training, a letter asking if the police chief or sheriff ‘objects’, 30 rounds of ammunition at 15 yards (Re-qualify every two years.), and no annual in service training.

A private security guard company license must be obtained along with liability insurance. This company can then hire and train unarmed and armed security guards. The guard is allowed to carry their weapon only when traveling directly to and from work. The all important background check normally done by the State Board has not prevented convicted felons from working as armed security guards. State law charges the board with doing background checks, but does not specify how it is to be done. So, when an application and $35 is received, the board sends a letter to the local Sheriff and Police Chief which asks: “Do you have any objection to the following individual becoming an armed security guard?”

If the board requested a ‘background check’, then the city or county agency could charge the board for that service. Since they have only been asked if they ‘object’, the local entity is obligated to pay for any background checking that might be done. Therefore, most applications go into the trash or a file. (The San Antonio Police Department is probably the only city in Texas doing these checks and they are not being reimbursed by the state board. Local taxpayers are funding the cost.)

This allows the Security Board to keep the $35 and count it as state revenue which is one reason the board revenue stream looks so good. It also allows security guard companies to avoid a waiting period and put an applicant to work as unarmed or armed security guards without a background check having been completed! There are many documented cases of felons doing armed security work. These people would not qualify to buy a weapon, yet the bureaucratic ploy utilized by the Private Security Board, effectively bypasses the law!

D. Exclusion of any commissioned TCLEOSE Licensee represents an irrational and arbitrary means to protect public safety and welfare because:

There are six licenses issued by TCLEOSE. Each applicant must complete the courses of instruction and then pass a written examination comprised of about 200 questions. Upon licensing, each licensee must complete 20 hours per year of in service training and requalify with their weapon(s) firing at least 50 rounds at various ranges on a standard police combat course.

a. The TCLEOSE training & certification process for all licenses commissioned exceeds the PS Act’s baseline or intent, seven to twenty times, therefore, ‘full time’ vs ‘reserve’ ‘paid’ vs ‘unpaid’ – etc., are specious and irrational arguments.

Basic Peace Officer - Total Classroom Hours = 560: Three courses of instruction are used and can be completed in one contiguous session or in three parts over a four year period. First, 228 hours of classroom training and firearms instruction including firing 1000 rounds of ammunition results in a ‘Basic Reserve’ License. Second, 190 additional hours of classroom training results in a ‘Intermediate Reserve’ License. Third, 142 additional hours of classroom training results in a ‘Basic Peace Officer’ License.

Advanced PO licenses are based on college credits or training hours which equal ‘points’, and on years of service. Each college credit = 1point. Every 20 hours of training = 1 point. Years of service accumulate on a year for year basis, regardless of whether the individual is a volunteer or a salaried officer or whether they worked part time or worked full time.

Intermediate Peace Officer: Training/Education Hours = 20 points + 8 years.

Advanced Peace Officer: Training/Education Hours = 40 points + 12 years.

Master Peace Officer: Training/Education Hours = 60 points + 20 years.

These standards of licensing, whether it be for a ‘Basic Reserve’ or a ‘Master Peace Officer’ exceed the baseline established in the Private Security Act by seven to twenty times, thereby satisfying the original intent of the act. Therefore, any attempt to say any one of the six Commissioned TCLEOSE licenses ‘endangers’ the public would be an irrational statement.

b. All Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensees gain superior experience working with their respective agencies on all public and private properties in Texas including roadways.

Each agency has a separate training program to indoctrinate officers into their particular procedures. Some require additional training in specific areas and/or additional amounts of in service training beyond the TCLEOSE minimum. Whether you work as a Basic Reserve or as a Master Peace Officer, the variety and quality of experience while under both direct and indirect supervision exceeds the experiences of private security guards by a considerable margin.

Security Guards deal with a very small part of the community, their area of authority being the property lines of their client. Commissioned Peace Officers, while on duty, are exposed to the entire community, a jurisdiction generally defined by city limits or county lines.

c. All Commissioning Agencies of TCLEOSE Licensees exercise superior methods of selection and control over their respective commissions exceeding the Act’s baseline by a factor of at least ten times.

TCLEOSE Licensing is a separate process (see 1, D, a. on page 4), although in some departments it is integral due to the department having a training academy. Either way, the candidate will undergo a rigorous process of selection which will generally come in three parts and take about ninety days, contrasting sharply with the PS Act’s airy practice.

First, a detailed application will be completed, after which the candidate’s background will be thoroughly checked using a current agency produced photograph, fingerprints, The TCIC/NCIC Network, and personal interviews with people known to the candidate.

Second, a personality profile will be drawn from an interview with a licensed Psychologist and a physical exam by a Licensed Doctor must be successfully completed.

Third, the department will generally use a committee of officers to interview the candidate. A final decision is made when all three reports have been summarized and recommendations noted.

When the candidate has been commissioned, a ‘probation’ period is established. Generally it will last anywhere from a minimum of six months to one year. During this period the candidate is closely supervised regardless of the assignment.

After the probationary period has ended, a review of the candidate’s performance is completed and if satisfactory, the candidate receives their first permanent assignment. However, supervision of the officer’s activities continue on duty and off duty.

d. All agencies rigidly control ‘Off Duty Work’ of all commissioned personnel.

An officer who decides to work off duty will have to get permission by notifying his agency using a signed application of precisely when, where, and for who the security work is to be done. Generally, the officer will have to complete some sort of department training which covers the various differences between private security work and agency work. In this session the officer learns about the policies which their department has adopted regarding off duty work.

Most departments will not allow their officers to work in certain types of establishments, such as a club using exotic dancers, a pornographic shop, or a night club which the department believes might have criminal activity. This system has proven to be very effective and keeps off duty liability at a minimum. If these high standards of selection, training, and supervision do count for reduced liability, then commissioned peace officers represent an acceptable risk when compared to armed private security guards.

Contrast the record with just one year, 1994, when the Private Security Board received some 12,000 complaints against licensees. During the same period, TCLEOSE logged only a few hundred. Liability Insurance will always be necessary where the standards of training, selection, and supervision are minimal, such as in the case of armed private security guards.

The security industry frequently likes to preach a doctrine of fear citing a lack of supervision and insurance when peace officers work off duty. They never show any proof that this is a substantial problem, they do not cite a significant number of instances to prove their point. Private security arguments amount to outright lies when the facts are examined.

The Private Security Industry does not even come close to the standards of licensing, selection, supervision, and control exercised by all Texas Law Enforcement Agencies!

2. GOALS of legislative changes EXPLAINED:

A. Exclude all TCLEOSE Licensees Commissioned by any City, County, or State Agency from The Private Security Act.

All Texas Officers who are commissioned under a TCLEOSE License are more than qualified to do Private Security work and should be completely excluded from any and all control by the Security Board. It does not make any sense for the Security Board to exercise any control whatsoever over TCLEOSE Licensees, particularly in view of the fact that TCLEOSE maintains superior standards by a factor of seven to twenty times! It would make better sense to remove Private Investigators, Personal Protection Specialists, and Armed Security Guards from the Security Board and place them under TCLEOSE. The reason? These three licenses more closely resemble a Peace Officer, therefore, the public’s safety and welfare would be better served if they were controlled by the agency charged with the superior responsibility.

This argument also begins to beg the question: Just how much training and in service training is required to produce a well rounded Peace Officer? Increasing training hours in itself does not guarantee a better officer. TCLEOSE has steadily increased the hours required for a Basic Peace Officer License and for in service training. In the process, it has become apparent that a lot of ‘make work’ material is being inserted to satisfy the increased hours. What is being lost in this paradigm? The basics. They are important because when an incident is dissected, it is generally noted that the offending officer overlooked a basic component of training.

Define the term ‘Peace Officer’ to mean: All TCLEOSE Licensees Commissioned by any City, County, Or State Agency; or Commissioned by any Federal Law Enforcement Agency.

The concept of ‘Peace Officer’ should be a simple statement anyone can understand:

“A Peace Officer is an individual who holds a TCLEOSE License and has been COMMISSIONED by a City, County, Or State Agency. Any individual, based on years of service and endorsed by their agency as a ‘Permanent Commissioned Licensee’.”

All other professions have provisions for those who have served long enough to earn a permanent license, peace officers should not be excluded from such a practice.

C. Eliminate all definitions and/or constraints of Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensees based on the word or definition of: ‘Employment’.

Employment for pay has nothing to do with standards of training and education. If one individual meets the same standard as another, the difference between the two cannot be based on how much money one is paid versus another who might volunteer their time. Knowledge and ability cannot be based on whether or not money was exchanged for services. Many volunteers are part time by choice, not because they could not find an agency to hire them.

From a realistic standpoint, the body of knowledge necessary to maintain the peace, is not the same as the knowledge required to do brain surgery, or the knowledge required to do a lot of other things. Certainly, there are areas of specialization in all professions, including law enforcement that can require a vast background of specialized training, but baselines are not measured on that part of the ruler.

D. Exclude Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensees from Law(s) restricting or controlling the carrying of handguns or weapons in public or private places anywhere in Texas.

If anyone with a Concealed Handgun License can legally carry a gun anywhere in Texas, then what could be wrong with any Commissioned TCLEOSE Licensee carrying a gun? Does the public trust only extend to the jurisdictional boundary line of a city limit or county line? To the hours defining an official tour of duty? Under the old paradigm, standards of training and education varied widely across the state. Under the new model, the baseline of training and education are the same regardless of where you might be in the state of Texas or whether you are a volunteer or full time. There is no rational reason for not extending this kind of trust to all commissioned peace officers.

Summaries of Bills introduced in the 1997 Texas Legislature:

Senate Bill 1905 by Senator Mike Moncrief

to abolish the Private Security Board

SB1905 to do away with the Texas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies and transfer all the functions of the Board over to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.

House Bill 85 by Rep. John Longoria

to increase peace officer survivor benefits

HB85 amends Sec.615.022, Government Code to increase payment to surviving spouse from $50,000 to$250,000; increases monthly benefit for one surviving minor child fromm $200 to $500; for two surviving children from $300 to $750; and for three or more children from $400 a month to $1,000.

In addition to increasing the benefit payments, the amendment provides for surviving spouse or minor children to enroll as full-time students in an institution of higher learning and be exempt from tuition and housing.

The bill also provides for payment of survivor benefits to surviving dependent parents.

It was sent to the House Committe on Appropriations.

House Bill 182 by Rep. John Longoria

to grant commissions for retired peace officers

HB182 amends Sec. 1, Subchapter C. Chapter 415, Government Code to provide for appointment of special retired peace officer commission for a peace officer who honorably retires after not less than 15 years of service. The officer must satisfy the weapons proficiency requirements, and enter into a bond of $2,500.

The bill was sent to the House Committee on Public Safety

House Bill 311 by Rep. Allen Place to exempt

peace officers from PC 46.02 and 46.03

HB311 would do away with the “defense to prosecution” of charges of unlawful carrying of weapons by peace offiders and places peace officers un the “non-applicable” clause. It also provides that peace officers may carry anywherre in Texas at any time whether on duty or not.

The bill passed the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, the House of Representatives, passed the Senate, and became law..

House Bill 246 by Rep. John Longoria to exempt

all Peace Officers from the Private Security Act

HB246 amends Sec. 3(a), Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies Act (Article 4413(29bb), Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes to state that the Act does not apply to a person who is a peace officer. The amendment removes all language relating to full-time employment and also exempts reserve peace officers.

The bill cleared the House Committee on Public Safetypassed the House, cleared the Senate Committee, was delayed and buried until too late.

House Bill 2485 by Rep. Steve Holzheauser

to add reserve deputy sheriffs to C.C.P. 2.12

HB3485 amends Art. 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure in WHO ARE PEACE OFFICERS, by adding in paragraph (1) “sheriff’s deputies, and reserve deputies appointed under Sec. 85.004, Local Government Code.” Next, under Sec. 2 of 85.004 where it currently states that they will serve as peace officers, it deletes the language “during the actual discharge of their official duties”; then in (d) where a reserve deputy has the same rights, privileges and duties as any other peace officer of the state, it deletes the language “and actively engaged in assigned duties.”

Efforts are under way to alter this proposed bill so that it will include police reserves and reserve deputy constables.

The bill did not clear the House Public Safety Committee.

What some other groups have done.

Maybe yours can do it, too.

A major law enforcement organization, the Central Texas Justices of the Peace and Constables Association, took action quickly after Williamson County Constables Dennis Jurazewzski, Pct. 3, Gary Griffin, Pct. 1, and Marty Ruble, Pct. 4, made them aware that legislation had been introduced to exempt all Texas peace officers from the Private Security Act. This organization passed a Resolution calling for the Legislature to pass HB246 which amends the Act.

The Bexar County Sheriff Support Division, at its regular meeting on March 10, 1997, unanimously passed Resolutions urging passage of HB85, HB182, HB246, and HB311. Those Resolutions are printed below to guide other groups who might wish to do likewise.

RESOLUTION (HB85)

Whereas, in recent years, the number of officers killed in the line of duty has increased, yet with the rising crime wave these numbers are not going to decrease; and

Whereas, these numbers increase more once we include probation and parole officers, fire fighters, and employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division; and

Whereas, these individuals put their life on the line to uphold the law and protect our communities, yet our system currently only takes minimal steps in accommodating the surviving family of an officer who has paid the ultimate price for our safety, well-being, and peace of mind; and

Whereas, House Bill 85 by Representative John A. Longoria has been introduced in the Texas Legislature with the purpose to increase the benefits paid to survivors of certain public servants from $50,000 to $250,000, and also to give surviving dependent children of these officer an opportunity to attend an institution of higher learning by exempting these children from tuition, room and board; and

Whereas, this bill does not grant any additional rulemaking authority to any state officer, institution, or department;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Support Division in regular meeting on March 10, 1997 voted unanimously to support and urge passage of House Bill 85, and it was further resolved that this Resolution be accompanied by a list of the more than 200 Peace Officers who are commissioned Deputy Sheriffs of Bexar County, Texas, and that list is hereby made a part of this Resolution.

RESOLUTION (HB182)

Whereas, peace officers are not allowed to continue to carry a weapon upon retirement unless they fulfill the requirements of Texas concealed weapon law; and

Whereas, honorably retired officers have often put in many years of service and gone through hundreds of hours of training, and

Whereas, the vast experience and proficiency with weapons and their ability to respond to emergency situations makes them an asset to the community; and

Whereas, House Bill 182 by Representative John A. Longoria is presently in the Texas Legislature and the purpose of this bill is to allow a retired peace officer to carry a weapon if he is retired after no less than 15 years, satisfies a weapons proficiency requirement annually and enters into a bond for indemnification purposes; and

Whereas, this bill does not grant any additional rulemaking authority to any state officer, institution, or department;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Support Division in regular meeting on March 10, 1997 voted unanimously to support and urge passage of House Bill 182, and it was further resolved that this Resolution be accompanied by a list of the more than 200 Peace Officers who are commissioned Deputy Sheriffs of Bexar County, Texas, and that list is hereby made a part of this Resolution.

RESOLUTION (HB246)

Whereas, since the Texas Legislature over two decades ago established the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education (TCLEOSE); and

Whereas, in those years, TCLEOSE has regularly increased the minimum for training of Peace Officers from just over 100 hours of training to 560 hours, and

Whereas, Peace Officers in Texas must successfully fulfill TCLEOSE training, then be licensed by TCLEOSE, and following extensive background checks, physical and psychological exams must be commissioned by a law enforcement agency before performing any Peace Officer duties; and

Whereas, under the present Texas Private Security Act, a person may begin performing armed security guard duty for pay with only 40 hours training, and without any psychological or physical examinations: and

Whereas, the present Private Security Act exempts persons who have full time employment as Peace Officers if they work a minimum of 32 hours per week; and

Whereas, there are thousands of dedicated citizens of Texas who have completed all the requirements for a TCLEOSE Peace Officer License, have passed all background, physical, and psychological examinatiions of any other Peace Officer but serve their communities without pay; and

Whereas, it is obviously irrational to exempt a Peace Officer who has full time employment, and not exempt another Peace Officer who serves without pay; and

Whereas, House Bill 246 by Representative John A. Longoria is presently in the Texas Legislature to correct these inequities by exempting all Peace Officers from the Private Security Act thus removing control of any Peace Officers from the Private Security Board and placing control over all Peace Officers where it belongs, in the hands of Chiefs of Police, Constables, and Sheriffs;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Support Division in regular meeting on March 10, 1997 voted unanimously to support and urge passage of House Bill 246, and it was further resolved that this Resolution be accompanied by a list of the more than 200 Peace Officers who are commissioned Deputy Sheriffs of Bexar County, Texas, and that list is hereby made a part of this Resolution.

RESOLUTION (HB311)

Whereas, the Texas Penal Code in 46.03 uses “non-applicability” for various exceptions to 46.02, Unlawful Carrying Weapons; and

Whereas, currently, 46.02 states that carrying a handgun, illegal knife or a club is a Class A Misdemeanor, but the long recognized exceptions are now termed defenses to prosecution; and

Whereas, House Bill 311 by Representative Allen Place has been introduced in the Texas Legislature with the purpose to return the defenses to prosecution to 46.02 to the “non-applicable” language; and

Whereas, H.B. 311 amends 46.02 so it does not apply to peace officers and neither 46.02 or 46.03 prohibits a peace officer from carrying a weapon in this state, regardless of whether the officer is engaged in the actual discharge of the officer’s duties while carrying the weapon;

Whereas, this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to any state officer, institution, or department;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Support Division in regular meeting on March 10, 1997 voted unanimously to support and urge passage of House Bill 311, and it was further resolved that this Resolution be accompanied by a list of the more than 200 Peace Officers who are commissioned Deputy Sheriffs of Bexar County, Texas, and that list is hereby made a part of this Resolution.

Revised October 26, 1998

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