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 ...

Many border drug smugglers avoid prison in Texas

A DPS trooper spots a motorist along Highway 83 in Starr County.
A DPS trooper spots a motorist along Highway 83 in Starr County.

In two key Texas counties, less than a quarter of the “high-threat criminals” arrested by Department of Public Safety troopers for felony drug offenses during the state’s border surge have been sent to prison.

45-year-old Nickolas Mares is described by DPS as a “high-threat criminal,” though he only faced a drug possession charge. He can hardly speak from a stroke and lives with his mother in Rio Grande City.
45-year-old Nickolas Mares is described by DPS as a “high-threat criminal,” though he only faced a drug possession charge. He can hardly speak from a stroke and lives with his mother in Rio Grande City.

Most border arrests by Texas troopers are not for drug smuggling

  • 9Comments

DPS has added more troopers to the border under the assumed objective that they're going after drug and human smugglers. But most of their arrests are for drunk driving and misdemeanor drug possession. 

Ayana Flewellen speaks to a large crowd assembled at The Texas Capitol for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Sandra Bland on Thursday July 23, 2015.
Ayana Flewellen speaks to a large crowd assembled at The Texas Capitol for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Sandra Bland on Thursday July 23, 2015.

Hearings Will Address Criminal Justice Reforms in Sandra Bland's Name

Texas lawmakers will meet Tuesday to discuss the push for reforms in Texas jail standards, police training and care for mentally ill inmates in the wake of Sandra Bland's death in the Waller County Jail.

 

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.

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

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 an evacuation marked by a traffic disaster. Officials say they're prepared to avoid a similar catastrophe on the roads. 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.  

 

A memorial for Sandra Bland at the site of her arrest.
A memorial for Sandra Bland at the site of her arrest.

DPS Trooper Warned in 2014 of "Unprofessional Conduct"

The Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who was found hanged three days later in the Waller County Jail, was warned about his "unprofessional conduct"  in 2014 while he was still a probationary trooper, according to his personnel file.

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

  • 14Comments

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.