Texas Sheriffs Today
Apr. 10, 2015

Police body camera debate hits state Senate
State lawmakers will debate whether all police officers in the state should have body cameras. Senate Bill 158, proposed by Sen. Royce West of Dallas, also details when the cameras should be used. Currently, several police departments across the state use body cameras. But what this Senate bill would do is create a statewide policy for body cameras, plus funding.More

Smith County sheriff mandates policy changes
Pursuant to Texas Criminal Code, Article 17.151, within 90 days, a defendant accused of a felony and detained in jail pending trial of an accusation against him must be released either on personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail required, if the state is not ready for trial of the criminal action for which the defendant is being detained. In such a case, a judge makes the determination of personal bond or reduced bail, but does not dismiss the charges for which the defendant was jailed.

In July of 2014, several Smith County Sheriff's Office cases were not filed in a timely manner. As a result, Sheriff Larry Smith tasked his Criminal Investigation Division Command Staff to develop a plan to ensure that cases were filed timely. A plan was subsequently developed that mandated cases be filed with the District Attorney's Office within a reasonable time in order for them to be indicted within ninety days. This plan was approved by Smith and worked as designed until March of 2015.More

Taylor County sheriff wants your help supporting Texas officers
Beginning Friday, April 10, some Taylor County residents will see letters in their mail from Sheriff Ricky Bishop. However, The letters are asking for support of the Sheriff's Association of Texas. The annual membership dues will be used to support crime prevention and public safety programs within the state. The funds will also be used for college scholarships. More

Federal judge dismisses Fort Worth police pension lawsuit
Pension reductions approved by the Fort Worth City Council for its police officers and general employees will stand, after a federal judge dismissed a police-backed lawsuit. Federal Judge Terry Means of the Northern District of Texas found the changes to the pension plan did not violate the Texas Constitution, which the lawsuit alleged. More

'Colton's Law' passes House Committee in unanimous vote
The Texas House Committee on Juvenile and Family Issues voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve House Bill 2053, also known as "Colton's Law." The legislation, if passed into law, gives law enforcement immediate access to the names of children and their parents who Child Protective Services is looking for. The information is put in the same database officers search during routine traffic stops to find warrants.More

Texas House Committee takes up 3 bills on marijuana reform
Dallas Observer
Three bills that take different approaches to reforming Texas' marijuana laws got a hearing before the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence on Wednesday. Supporters packed the only committee hearing scheduled on the bills in either chamber. With the clock running out on the session, other hearings aren't likely, and regardless, odds are long against the legislature passing any big changes to the state's tough marijuana laws this year. More

South Carolina police officer charged with murder in man's death
The New York Times via The Virginian-Pilot
A white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, was charged with murder after a video surfaced showing him shooting in the back and killing an apparently unarmed black man while the man ran away.More

Police training should reflect findings in Marathon bombing report
The Boston Globe
Almost every page in the recent state report on the response to the 2013 marathon bombing tells Boston residents what they already knew: Police acted heroically in tracking down the bombers, and the region's emergency medical professionals showed astonishing skill in caring for the wounded. Still, the report does identify some weaknesses, and it does no dishonor to the work that first responders did that chaotic week to take heed of the ways they could improve.More

3 reasons female cops are turning to women's firearms training
The debate about whether or not women and men learn differently and should therefore be trained differently isn't new. Many women argue that they train the same as their male counterparts and wouldn't have it any other way. And many men agree. After all, they face the same dangers on the streets and are equally responsible for protecting themselves, their partners and their communities. So why should they train differently?More

How many crimes do your police 'clear'? Now you can find out
Violent crime in America has been falling for two decades. That's the good news. The bad news is, when crimes occur, they mostly go unpunished. In fact, for most major crimes, police don't even make an arrest or identify a suspect. That's what police call "clearing" a crime; the "clearance rate" is the percentage of offenses cleared.More

Don't let your career be 'stuck in a rut'
There is nothing inherently bad about finding that comfortable place where you feel secure in who you are and what you know, comfortable in your own skin and skills. "Finding your sweet spot" can be incredibly rewarding and lead to personal and professional fulfillment.

But problems arise when dissatisfaction supplants contentment and frustration with the status quo breeds unhappiness. Think of the etymology of the phrase "stuck in a rut"; it's simply a metaphor for being trapped in a place you can't escape, your mobility and freedom of choice limited, and forced to follow a route perhaps not (or no longer of) your own choosing. People don't say they're stuck in a rut when they are happy to be there. More