In: Criminal Defense

Texas Signs Bill for Stricter Hiring Procedures for the Police Force

Texas has a new law going into effect on September 1, 2021, thanks to multiple bills passing, which focuses on certain police reforms. The law aims to create consistency when it comes to hiring and training standards of law enforcement agencies across the state, as well as improve officer accountability. Both reform advocates and police associations were in favor of SB 24 and HB 3712 passing.

Despite the law, police officers can still act wrongfully, which can result in false arrests or criminal charges. If you are arrested, contact a Denton criminal defense attorney immediately.

Hiring Officers

Previously, many police officers in Texas were what officials called “gypsy officers.” This means that:

  • An officer would act wrongfully while working for one department.
  • The officer would quit before they were terminated or any disciplinary hearing occurred.
  • The officer would apply to work at another police department.
  • The new department would not check records from the previous department, so it would not know that it was hiring an officer who acted wrongfully in the past.

Under the new law, police departments are required to obtain termination and discipline records from previous departments - across Texas and the entire United States. This will hopefully help to ensure that departments avoid hiring gypsy cops who are trying to hide their bad behavior in uniform.

Training

As part of HB 3712, the law creates higher training standards for new officer recruits. It lays out a standard training curriculum that all police departments across Texas should model their training programs after. This aims to have greater control over the level and quality of training officers have before they are sent into the field.

Unlawful Police Activity

In addition to raising standards for better hiring and training of officers, the law will make specific police actions illegal. These include chokeholds and restraints on the neck or carotid artery.

These specific practices have been questioned in recent years since the widely-publicized and protested deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd following police chokeholds. Texas now joins a long list of cities and states that have already put chokehold bans in place. Officers should not be trained on carotid or chokeholds, and they should be trained that this conduct is against the law.

While chokehold band cannot stop officers from using the move, it does provide consequences if the conduct is discovered. This will hopefully be a deterrent from using chokeholds in the first place.

Learn How a Denton, TX, Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

While police reform is inching its way into Texas, there is still a lot more work to be done, and people are victims of police misconduct on a regular basis. If you were arrested - whether or not you believe misconduct occurred - you should seek assistance from a Denton criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Criminal charges can have consequences, and the Law Office of Brent Bowen, PLLC, can help to minimize the penalties that you face. Call 940-222-2488 or contact us online to discuss your situation and how we might help.