Tribpedia: Department Of Public Safety

The Texas Department of Public Safety is the state's largest law enforcement agency. It issues drivers licenses and is responsible for providing emergency management during natural and manmade disasters.

The Texas Highway Patrol Division is responsible for general police traffic supervision, traffic, and criminal law enforcement on rural highways.

The Texas Rangers, among the oldest and nationally best known law ...

Police Group Upset Over DPS Director's "Spit" Comment

Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on Jan. 19, 2016.
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on Jan. 19, 2016.

When asked about escalations with law enforcement, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said last week that officers need to respond professionally and added, "Anybody that’s been spit at ... you just take it."

Video: McCraw on Race and Policing

At our 1/19 conversation, Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, explained why racial profiling is only a "perception" problem in Texas and how the agency is handling traffic stops these days.

Fleeing before Hurricane Rita hit land on Sept. 24, 2005, evacuees faced a separate disaster on roads like Interstate 10. The chaotic evacuation contributed to more deaths than the storm itself. Officials say they are better prepared for the next evacuation.
Fleeing before Hurricane Rita hit land on Sept. 24, 2005, evacuees faced a separate disaster on roads like Interstate 10. The chaotic evacuation contributed to more deaths than the storm itself. Officials say they are better prepared for the next evacuation.

Will Another Traffic Nightmare Precede the Next Big Storm?

Before Hurricane Rita hit the Texas coast 10 years ago, there was a traffic disaster amid an exodus of more than 3 million people. Officials say they're prepared to avoid a similar catastrophe on the roads, but others aren't so sure. This is part of our "Road From Rita" series, a collaboration with the Beaumont Enterprise.

Texas Department of Public Safety recruit graduation class on April 7th, 2011 in Austin, Texas
Texas Department of Public Safety recruit graduation class on April 7th, 2011 in Austin, Texas

Troopers Ticketing Fewer Overall, but More Hispanics

State troopers are writing far fewer traffic tickets now than five years ago, but an increasing share of them are being issued to Hispanic drivers, a Tribune analysis of state data shows. The Texas Department of Public Safety says it can't explain why that's happening. 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (second from right) and State Sen. John Whitmire (right), D-Houston, announced on Aug. 18, 2015, the creation of an interim study committee to take a closer look at jail safety.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (second from right) and State Sen. John Whitmire (right), D-Houston, announced on Aug. 18, 2015, the creation of an interim study committee to take a closer look at jail safety.

Interim Committee to Take a Closer Look at Jail Safety

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. John Whitmire on Tuesday announced the creation of an interim jail safety study committee following concerns in the wake of the hanging death of Sandra Bland and the deaths of other jail inmates.

 

 

The Texas Department of Public Safety is seeking the public’s assistance in gathering information about a person of interest related to a car fire outside the state Capitol.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is seeking the public’s assistance in gathering information about a person of interest related to a car fire outside the state Capitol.

Suspect in Unusual Activity at Capitol Tied to Car Fire

A man involved in "suspicious activity" near the Texas House speaker's office is also being sought for questioning about a car fire outside the Capitol, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman said Monday.

Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.
Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.

Bland's Mother Sues DPS, Waller County

Alleging that Sandra Bland's "rights and privileges as a citizen of the United States" were violated, Bland’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against the Texas Department of Public Safety, Waller County and several law enforcement officers.  

 

DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw answers questions from State Rep. Garnet Coleman during invited testimony of the House Committee on County Affairs investigating the Sandra Bland death in Waller County on July 30, 2015.
DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw answers questions from State Rep. Garnet Coleman during invited testimony of the House Committee on County Affairs investigating the Sandra Bland death in Waller County on July 30, 2015.

McCraw Hammered at Hearing on Bland Case

State lawmakers grilled Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw on Thursday, voicing concerns about arrest procedures used by state police and pressing the agency head to explain the July 10 arrest of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged three days later in the Waller County Jail.

Waller County Jail booking video showing Sandra Bland appearing before Justice of the Peace Delores Hargrave.
Waller County Jail booking video showing Sandra Bland appearing before Justice of the Peace Delores Hargrave.

Mental Health Jail Check Failed in Bland Case

The Waller County Jail failed to complete a two-part mental health screening process as required by law during Sandra Bland's booking process, according to the state jail commission and at least one public policy group.

In Texas Jails, Hanging Most Common Suicide Method

Texas county jails see 1 million bookings a year, and inmate deaths there are a rarity. But of the 501 inmate deaths that occurred in county jails since 2009, nearly a third — 140 — were suicides. And most of those suicides were by hanging, with inmates using objects available to them as ligatures: bed linens, clothing, telephone cords and trash bags.

 

Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.
Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.

Records Show Bland Revealed Previous Suicide Attempt

As she was being booked into the Waller County Jail, Sandra Bland told officers she had attempted suicide earlier this year, records released on Wednesday show. Bland also indicated that she had been diagnosed with epilepsy and was taking an anti-seizure medication.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis discusses the investigation of Sandra Bland's death at a July 17 news conference.
Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis discusses the investigation of Sandra Bland's death at a July 17 news conference.

Bland's Death Being Treated Like Murder Investigation

HEMPSTEAD — The probe into Sandra Bland's hanging death inside a Texas jail — which a medical examiner ruled a suicide last week — now includes the possibility of murder. "This is being treated like a murder investigation," Elton Mathis, Waller County's district attorney, said Monday. 

Sandra Bland, who was found dead at the Waller County Jail on July 13.
Sandra Bland, who was found dead at the Waller County Jail on July 13.

Waller County DA: Bland's Death Won't Be "Swept Under the Rug"

As Waller County authorities vowed on Friday to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged at the county jail, the Texas Department of Public Safety moved forward on a separate inquiry into how arrest procedures were violated in the case.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014

Analysis: Bickering Over Inquiries, With a Legislative Audience

As the Texas Legislature debates moving ethics investigations out of Travis County, an exchange between prosecutors and state police illustrates some of the problems ahead.

Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.
Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.

Integrity Unit Won't Resume Inquiry Into DPS Contracts

The head of the state’s anti-corruption unit responded on Monday to a request by the Texas Department of Public Safety to continue an investigation into the department’s border security contracts, saying the public integrity unit was not equipped to continue the investigation.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014

DPS Chief: Resume Border Security Contract Inquiry

he Texas Department of Public Safety's commander-in-chief fired off a letter Thursday to the head of the state's anti-corruption unit asking that a halted probe into its $20 million no-bid  border security contracts awarded to Abrams Learning and Information Systems, to proceed to clear the agency's name.