Legislative priority #6: Fund DPS well but audit and restore top training and standards

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedIn my list of priorities for the Texas Legislature, Priority Six involves the Department of Public Safety, DPS, in a couple of ways.

Beginning with border security, we should continue to fund enhanced police presence related to the border, drug and human smuggling, and the crime associated with such. Both House and Senate preliminary budgets do this with the house proposing $782 million and the Senate $803 million.

This is good but there also needs to be some form our outside accountability audit done now that we’ve funded this massive border build-up for a number of years.

DPS patrol boat with mounted machine guns. Via GT Distributors facebook page

We need to know that it is effective and that DPS is spending the money wisely, not just using it to fly more helicopters around, or showing off Rio Grande  gun boats, for the sake of flying or showing off.

The second big issue we should be watching now, not later when it’s too late, is the issue of DPS having relaxed training, and possibly lowered standards though they claim not to have, to gain recruits during the massive build up funded by border security concerns.

image: DPSBack in 2010, a Houston Chronicle story began with: “The tan cowboy hat and shiny black boots will be the same, but Texas troopers soon will be on the highways with nine fewer weeks of training than their veteran colleagues. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said reducing the length of academy training will shave costs, increase recruitment and lead to more frequent classes.”

I remember more corners seem to have been cut in later years during the build-up. It is time to raise standards to the top level for which DPS was well known before it devolves into an average state policing service. I have already experienced and seen in reports anecdotal evidence of a move from being “peace officers” to the intimidation of “law enforcement.”

What do you think?...

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