A recent report by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission found that “the current state regulation of law enforcement is largely toothless.” The report, first published in the Houston Chronicle, showed that “Texas’ patchwork of unequal oversight has led to ‘a fragmented, outdated system with poor accountability, lack of statewide standards and inadequate education’.”
The review, released shortly before the 87th legislative session began, also shows that more than 600 Texas police officers were dishonorably discharged for misconduct in 2019, but more than a quarter of them were reinstated.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which is responsible for the licensing of police officers, including law enforcement personnel, has “almost no authority to take action against an officer’s license”.
Sunset Advisory Commission officials recommended the establishment of a Blue Ribbon Panel to evaluate current law enforcement regulations in order to make “changes necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public and law enforcement personnel.”
The Sunset Commission, founded in 1977, evaluates government agencies and their programs for effectiveness and relevance. The commission consists of 12 members – 5 senators, 5 state officials and two public members appointed by the lieutenant governor and Speaker of the House.
In response to the staff report, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa made the following statement: “Members of the 87th Texas Legislature have cut their work for them, but we need to meet, review the evidence, and make changes . Lives depend on solutions. “