CKEA(LEGAL) - SECURITY PERSONNEL: COMMISSIONED PEACE OFFICERS
Note: For general provisions applicable to district security personnel, including district peace officers, see CKE.
For information on mental health leave and quarantine leave for peace officers, see DEC.
Powers and Duties
Code of Criminal Procedure
Any peace officer commissioned by the board must meet all minimum standards for peace officers established by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Education Code 37.081(h)
Officers commissioned by a board are peace officers. Code of Criminal Procedure 2.12(8)
It is the duty of every peace officer to preserve the peace within the officer's jurisdiction. To effect this purpose, the officer shall use all lawful means. Code of Criminal Procedure 2.13(a)
The peace officer shall perform the duties listed in Code of Criminal Procedure 2.13.
Determined by the Board
A district peace officer shall perform law enforcement duties for the district as determined by the board. Education Code 37.081(d), (d-1) [See CKE(LEGAL)]
The board may authorize any officer commissioned by the board to enforce rules adopted by the board. Education Code Chapter 37, Subchapter D (protection of buildings and grounds) is not intended to restrict the authority of each district to adopt and enforce appropriate rules for the orderly conduct of the district in carrying out its purposes and objectives or the right of separate jurisdiction relating to the conduct of its students and personnel. Education Code 37.103
In a peace officer's jurisdiction, a peace officer commissioned by the board:
- Has the powers, privileges, and immunities of peace officers;
- May enforce all laws, including municipal ordinances, county ordinances, and state laws;
- May take a child into custody in accordance with Family Code Chapter 52 [see GRA] or Code of Criminal Procedure 45.058; and
- May dispose of cases in accordance with Family Code 52.03 or 52.031.
Education Code 37.081(b); Family Code 52.01(a)(3)
The board shall determine the scope of the on-duty and off-duty law enforcement activities of district peace officers. A district must authorize in writing any off-duty law enforcement activities performed by a district peace officer.
A district peace officer may provide assistance to another law enforcement agency. A district may contract with a political subdivision for the jurisdiction of a district peace officer to include all territory in the jurisdiction of the political subdivision.
Education Code 37.081(c), (e)
Chief of Police
The chief of police of a district police department shall be accountable to the superintendent and shall report to the superintendent. District police officers shall be supervised by the district chief of police or the chief's designee and shall be licensed by TCOLE. Education Code 37.081(f)
Oath and Bond
A peace officer assigned to duty and commissioned by a board shall take and file the oath required of peace officers and shall execute and file a bond in the sum of $1,000, payable to the board, with two or more sureties, conditioned that the peace officer will fairly, impartially, and faithfully perform all the duties that may be required of the peace officer by law. Education Code 37.081(h)
Preemployment Procedures and Reporting Requirements
Before a law enforcement agency may hire a person licensed under Occupations Code 1701 (law enforcement officers), the agency must, on a form and in the manner prescribed by the TCOLE:
- Obtain the person's written consent for the agency to review the information required to be reviewed under Occupations Code 1701.451;
- Request from TCOLE and any other applicable person information required to be reviewed under Occupations Code 1701.451; and
- Submit to TCOLE confirmation that the agency, to the best of the agency's ability before hiring the person:
- Contacted each entity or individual necessary to obtain the information required to be reviewed under Occupations Code 1701.451; and
- Except as provided below, obtained and reviewed as related to the person, as applicable, the information listed in Occupations Code 1701.451(a)(3)(B).
The head of a law enforcement agency or the agency head's designee shall review and sign each confirmation form required under Occupations Code 1701.451 before submission to TCOLE. The failure of an agency head or the agency head's designee to comply with this subsection constitutes grounds for suspension of the agency head's license under Occupations Code 1701.501.
The confirmation form submitted to TCOLE is not confidential and is subject to disclosure under Government Code Chapter 552.
If an entity or individual contacted for information required to be reviewed under Occupations Code 1701.451 refused to provide the information or did not respond to the request for information, the confirmation submitted to TCOLE must document the manner of the request and the refusal or lack of response.
Duty to Provide Information
If a law enforcement agency receives from a law enforcement agency a request for information under Occupations Code 1701.451 and the person's consent on the forms and in the manner prescribed by TCOLE, the agency shall provide the information to the requesting agency.
Occupations Code 1701.451
When a person licensed by TCOLE separates from an agency, the agency shall, within 7 business days:
- Submit a separation report (Form F5) to TCOLE; and
- Provide a copy to the licensee in a manner prescribed by Occupations Code 1701.452 (Employment Termination Report).
37 TAC 217.7(b)
An agency must retain records kept under 37 Administrative Code 217.7 while the person is appointed and for a minimum of five years after the licensee's separation date with that agency. The records must be maintained under the control of the agency head or designee in a format readily accessible to TCOLE. 37 TAC 217.7(d)
Memorandum of Understanding
A district police department and the law enforcement agencies with which it has overlapping jurisdiction shall enter into a memorandum of understanding that outlines reasonable communication and coordination efforts between the department and the agencies. Education Code 37.081(g)
Use of Force/Duty to Render Aid
Not later than the 180th day after the date TCOLE provides the model policies described by Occupations Code 1701.269(b), each law enforcement agency in this state shall adopt a policy on the topics described by that subsection. A law enforcement agency may adopt the model policies developed by TCOLE under that subsection. Occupations Code 1701.270
"Drone" means an unmanned aircraft, watercraft, or ground vehicle or a robotic device that:
- Is controlled remotely by a human operator; or
- Operates autonomously through computer software or other programming.
Each law enforcement agency that uses or intends to use a drone for law enforcement purposes shall:
- Adopt a written policy regarding the agency's use of force by means of a drone, before the agency first uses a drone, and update the policy as necessary; and
- Not later than January 1 of each even-numbered year, submit the policy to TCOLE in the manner prescribed by TCOLE.
Code of Criminal Procedure 2.33
[For additional information on unmanned aircraft systems, see GKA.]
A law enforcement agency that operates a body-worn camera program shall adopt a policy for the use of body-worn cameras that must ensure that a body-worn camera is activated only for a law enforcement purpose and must include guidelines and provisions required by Occupations Code 1701.655(b).
A policy may not require a peace officer to keep a body-worn camera activated for the entire period of the officer's shift.
A policy must require a peace officer who is equipped with a body-worn camera and actively participating in an investigation to keep the camera activated for the entirety of the officer's active participation in the investigation unless the camera has been deactivated in compliance with that policy.
Before a law enforcement agency may operate a body-worn camera program, the agency must provide training to peace officers who will wear the body-worn cameras and any other personnel who will come into contact with video and audio data obtained from the use of body-worn cameras.
Occupations Code 1701.655, .656
Motor Vehicle Stops
A peace officer who stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a law or ordinance shall report to the law enforcement agency that employs the officer information relating to the stop, including the information required by Code of Criminal Procedure 2.133.
The chief administrator of a law enforcement agency is responsible for auditing these reports to ensure that the race or ethnicity of the person operating the motor vehicle is being reported.
Code of Criminal Procedure 2.133
A law enforcement agency shall compile and analyze the information contained in each report received by the agency. Not later than March 1 of each year, each law enforcement agency shall submit a report containing the incident-based data compiled during the previous calendar year to TCOLE. Code of Criminal Procedure 2.134
If the chief administrator of a local law enforcement agency intentionally fails to submit the incident-based data as required by Code of Criminal Procedure 2.134, the department is liable to the state for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for each violation. Code of Criminal Procedure 2.1385(a)
A peace officer may not engage in racial profiling. Code of Criminal Procedure 2.131
Each law enforcement agency that employs peace officers who make traffic stops in the routine performance of the officer's official duties shall adopt a detailed written policy on racial profiling that complies with Code of Criminal Procedure 2.132(b). Code of Criminal Procedure 2.132
Mental Health Crisis or Substance Abuse Issue
A law enforcement agency shall make a good faith effort to divert a person suffering a mental health crisis or suffering from the effects of substance abuse to a proper treatment center in the agency's jurisdiction if:
- There is an available and appropriate treatment center in the agency's jurisdiction to which the agency may divert the person;
- It is reasonable to divert the person;
- The offense that the person is accused of is a misdemeanor, other than a misdemeanor involving violence; and
- The mental health crisis or substance abuse issue is suspected to be the reason the person committed the alleged offense.
This requirement does not apply to a person who is accused of specified offenses involving intoxication.
Code of Criminal Procedure 16.23
Administration of Epinephrine
A law enforcement agency may acquire and possess epinephrine auto-injectors and a peace officer may possess and administer an epinephrine auto-injector in accordance with Occupations Code Chapter 1701, Subchapter O. Occupations Code 1701.702(a) [See FFAC regarding district maintenance and administration of epinephrine auto-injectors.]
Officer-Involved Injury or Death
"Officer-involved injury or death" means an incident during which a peace officer discharges a firearm causing injury or death to another.
Not later than the 30th day after the date of an officer-involved injury or death, the law enforcement agency employing an officer involved in the incident must complete and submit a written or electronic report to the office of the attorney general. The report must include all information required by Code of Criminal Procedure 2.139(b).
Code of Criminal Procedure 2.139
Not later than the 30th day after the date of the occurrence of an incident in which, while a peace officer is performing an official duty, a person who is not a peace officer discharges a firearm and causes injury or death to the officer, the law enforcement agency employing the injured or deceased officer at the time of the incident must complete and submit a written or electronic report to the office of the attorney general. The report must include all information required by Code of Criminal Procedure 2.1395(a). Code of Criminal Procedure 2.1395(b)
Failure to Report
A law enforcement agency that fails to submit the required report on or before the seventh day after the date the agency received notice of failure to report from the office of the attorney general, is liable for a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000 for each day after the seventh day that the agency fails to submit the report. Beginning on the day after the date of receiving notice of failure to report, a law enforcement agency that, in the five-year period preceding the date the agency received the notice, has been liable for a civil penalty is liable for a civil penalty for each day the agency fails to submit the required report in the amount of $10,000 for the first day and $1,000 for each additional day that the agency fails to submit the report. Code of Criminal Procedure 2.13951(b), (c)
Complaints Against Peace Officers
To be considered by the head of the district's police department, a complaint against a district peace officer must be in writing and signed by the person making the complaint. A copy of the complaint shall be given to the officer within a reasonable time after it is filed. Disciplinary action may not be taken against the officer unless a copy of the signed complaint is given to the officer. The officer may not be indefinitely suspended or terminated based on the subject matter of the complaint unless the complaint is investigated and there is evidence to prove the allegation of misconduct. Gov't Code 614.021–.023; Colorado County v. Staff, 510 S.W.3d 435 (Tex. 2017); Atty. Gen. Op. GA-251 (2004)
On the commencement of an investigation by a law enforcement agency of a complaint by an individual who believes that a peace officer employed by the agency has engaged in racial profiling with respect to the individual in which a video or audio recording of the occurrence on which the complaint is based was made, the agency shall promptly provide a copy of the recording to the peace officer who is the subject of the complaint on written request by the officer. Code of Criminal Procedure 2.132(b)(3), (f)
[See DGBA, FNG, and GF for appeals]
A district shall provide a district employee who is a peace officer with legal counsel without cost to the employee to defend the employee against a suit for damages by a party other than a governmental entity if legal counsel is requested by the employee, and the suit involves an official act of the employee within the scope of the employee's authority.
To defend the employee against the suit, the district may provide counsel already employed by it or may employ private counsel.
An employee may recover from a district that fails to provide counsel as required the reasonable attorney's fees incurred in defending the suit if the trier of fact finds that the fees were incurred in defending a suit covered by these provisions and the employee is without fault or that the employee acted with a reasonable good faith belief that the employee's actions were proper.
Local Gov't Code 180.002(b)–(d)