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Relating to law enforcement agencies and policies and procedures
affecting peace officers.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB1396, As Substituted: a negative impact of ($281,421) through the biennium ending August 31, 2023. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
HB 1396 would require each law enforcement agency in Texas to adopt written policies regarding 1) the issuance of citations for fine-only misdemeanor offenses, including traffic offenses, 2) the use of a no-knock entry by a peace officer of the law enforcement agency, and, 3) the intervention by a peace officer of the agency to stop or prevent another peace officer from using excessive force against a person suspected of committing a crime.
HB 1369 would require the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to require each law enforcement agency to report the following substantiated incidents to the commission: 1) misconduct by a peace officer, including a conviction for a criminal offense committed in the course of performing the officer's duties, 2) the use of excessive force against a person suspected of committing certain offenses, 3) sexual harassment 4) the misuse of official capacity, 5) an unprofessional relationship with a person arrested, detained, or otherwise in the custody of the peace officer or the law enforcement agency, 6) any false statements made by the officer in obtaining employment, or 7) tampering with or fabricating physical evidence of a criminal offense or governmental record.
The bill would also require TCOLE to establish an advisory committee to give advice regarding law enforcement agency credentialing entities. It then requires TCOLE to develop and make available a model policy and associated training materials regarding a coordinated response program operated by a law enforcement agency in which a peace officer and a mental health professional jointly respond to a report of an alleged offense or other incident involving a person with a mental impairment, suffering from homelessness, or experiencing similar circumstances.
Texas Action supports HB 1396 on the principle of limited government and individual liberty. Requiring law enforcement agencies to adopt these policies and report this information helps clarify expectations for the people in their jurisdictions and provides better government transparency. It would also help with long term efforts to improve policing for the benefit of all Texans and reduce abuses of power or misconduct by law enforcement officers.