JUNE 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER

Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Click on JULY 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER  to read the current issue of the Texas State Trooper.

TSTA is here to help.   See the front page of Texas State Trooper.

Judge Gist’s article on “Community Caretaking” is a good one.

Congratulations Rosalio on your Gold medal in the Texas Police Games and congratulations to Cpl. Katherine Creekmore on your Professional Achievement Award.

Deborah Ingersoll has a good article on the Legislature, see page 4.

Crier’s Chronicles is a particularly outstanding one.  Read it  and see how TSTA is fighting for you on page 5.

Congratulations to the 122 new troopers, story on page 6.

Be safe when you travel.  Mark Riordan tells you how on page 7.

Check out page 11.  It shows you what benefits and services your $25 annual dues gets you.

Be safe!
Claude Hart
Executive Director

Law signed making attacks on police in Texas a hate crime

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last week gave his approval to the Police Protection Act which ups the penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers.

The measure, HB 2908, was proposed by Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and passed the legislature with only one lawmaker, Rep. Jarvis Johnson, a Houston-area Democrat, voting against the bill. Abbott first backed the proposal to expand hate crime protections to law enforcement last July in the days immediately after an attack on Dallas police officers that left five dead left five dead.

“The men and women in uniform risk their lives every day to protect the public, and it is time we show them the State of Texas has their back,” said Abbott at the time. “Texas will no longer tolerate disrespect for those who serve, and it must be made clear to anyone targeting our law enforcement officials that their actions will be met with severe justice.”

The new law adds police and judges to those threatened or targeted because of their perceived race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, gender, or sexual preference. As such, it would increase penalties for those who assault a law enforcement officer or jurist to as much as 20 years in prison. Attacks that result in severe injury could result to life in prison on conviction.

Civil rights advocates such as the Austin Justice Coalition and others argued the proposal was an insult to historically marginalized groups for which hate crime laws were established to protect, and is a step backward in relieving prison overcrowding.

“Although the work of peace officers is incredibly important, and many put their lives on the line every day, their inclusion into this statute meant to address bias and prejudice is inappropriate,” said the Texas Civil Rights Project in opposition to the measure.

The proposal had the support of several police lobby groups including the Houston Police Officers’ Union, Texas State Troopers Association, Texas Municipal Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.

The law takes effect Sept. 1.

A federal bill, the Thin Blue Line Act, which would impose the death penalty on those convicted of killing or attempting to kill first responders passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House last month.

DPS Troopers work an average of 50 crashes a month, including multiple fatalities

LOVING COUNTY — There’s no doubt about it that DPS Troopers are spending most of their time working car crashes in West Texas.
In fact, between Loving County, Ward County and Reeves County troopers are seeing an average of 50 crashes a month.
In the last 24 hours our area has seen nine crashes including three fatalities.
Loving County had three crashes Thursday morning — all within an hour of each other.
Unfortunately one was fatal.
“There’s a problem here and we need to start focusing on what this problem is,” said DPS Trooper Justin Baker. “[We need to] start changing our habits, our driving habits, and we want to see this number drastically reduced.”
Some of those habits Baker would like to see changed are distracted driving and obeying the speed limit and road signs.
According to DPS, two pickup trucks were involved in the fatal accident in Loving County.
A preliminary investigation shows the driver of one of the pickup trucks ran a stop sign and was T-boned at the intersection of County Road 300 and FM 652.
“These roads are treacherous and they get worse and worse every day,” said Lori Moon who works down the street from where the accident happened. “As the boom picks up, there’s going to be more and more traffic.”
Moon is just one of several residents who’ve witnessed too many crashes to count in their county, including Thursday morning’s fatal.
“Well sadly that gentleman this morning won’t go home to his loved ones, he went home to the lord instead,” said Moon. “It’s sad, but so many times it can be avoided if people would just slow down and pay attention.”
It might sound like a broken record, but Trooper Baker has a message for all drivers:
“Drive defensively, reduce your speed, pay attention to warning signs, especially in construction zones and be courteous to each other. Go out there and share the road and don’t take unnecessary risks.”

JUNE 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER

Click on  JUNE 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER to read the current issue of “Texas State Trooper.”

In this edition you will see how much TSTA cares about you and your career.

We help to sponsor events such as the DPS Retirees Firearms Qualifications.  It was fun because of the fellowship and meal.  It was necessary to maintain firearm proficiency.

We assist those in need.  TSTA met with Cynthia Vetter, widow of slain DPS Trooper Randy Vetter, and assisted monetarily.

Judge Gist, as usual, has a great article.  This one will make you chuckle!

Deborah Ingersoll’s Legislative Update will advise you how involved TSTA has been in this legislative session to fight for your interests.

Crier’s Chronicles by TSTA Attorney Jack Crier will allow you to know how keen an understanding he has toward the legislative bills that affect you, and how hard Jack fights to keep the “bad” stuff off of you.

Retired TSTA member Mark Riordan has an interesting article—Stay Alert!

You can join TSTA at any time.  Dues are only $25 per calendar year and you get great representation.   LET US SERVE YOU!

Be safe!

Claude Hart

Executive Director

MAY 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER

Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Click on MAY 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER to access the current issue of “Texas State Trooper”.

It was quite the deal – the Region 2 Annual Qualification and Fish Fry that is. Lots of people and lots of old friends. Great job folks!

Great article Judge Gist. Each month the Judge shows us differing facts of the Criminal Justice System and how they work.

TSTA strives to safeguard your retirement as promised to you. State Rep. Phil Stephenson has an interesting approach.

Page 3 shows you that you can join TSTA at any time, how easy it is and how little it costs you.

Read what’s happening at the legislature by Deborah Ingersoll. The race is on.

“Crier’s Chronicles” is great. Jack is working hard to keep laws from being passed that would adversely affect you.

Find out “What you get from TSTA” on page 13 followed by Kuempel’s Korner on page 14…It’ll tickle you!

Be Safe!
Claude Hart
Executive Director
Texas State Troopers Association

APRIL 2017 TSTA

Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Click on APRIL 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER to access the current issue of “Texas State Trooper”.

A very important read – Retirement and why defined benefit retirement plans must be saved. Thank you Mr. Malfaro for your great enlightening article.

On the front page see how easy it is to become a TSTA member. We look forward to serving you.

Again Judge Gist has a great article on “Insanity” this month.

Jack Crier in “Crier’s Chronicles” always writes about things that directly affect you. Gotta read this one on page 4.

Find out what’s going on in the legislature and how it happens in the “Legislative Update” by Deborah Ingersoll on page 5.

Many of you knew Mark Riordan, retired DPS Lt. Read about what he’s doing now as a Private Investigator on page 6.

You still have time to vote in the ERS Trustee Election – see our candidate and see how you can vote online on page 7.

We lost two good men, Odis Lee Whaley and Richard Loose. Their obituaries are on page 8.

See what our $25 annual dues buys for you on page 12.

We thank you officers for what you do!

Be safe!

Claude A. Hart
Executive Director

DPS schedules testing session for trooper candidates

The Texas Department of Public Safety is calling prospective troopers for a testing session April 4.

Those interested in the career are invited to attend the event 9 a.m. April 4 at the department’s highway patrol office in Victoria at 8802 N. Navarro St.
Before attending, participants should complete an online application at joindps.com and RSVP by contacting Sgt. Arminda Henke at 512-626-3456.
Testing will cover basic skills and could last about two hours.
According to the DPS website, trooper trainees make about $55,000 annually. That salary can rise to about $73,000 within the first 18 months.

MARCH 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER

Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Congratulations JoAnne, you have put together a great newsletter this month.  Lots of valuable information.

Click on MARCH 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER to access the current issue of “Texas State Trooper”.

 First, thank you Faith Lutheran Church of Dickinson, Texas, for your kindness to TSTA by displaying the kind message on your street sign.

Next, Judge Gist continues his lesson to you on the necessity of Plea Bargains.

Read Crier’s Chronicles — Folks, Jack has your back.  He and TSTA are fighting for you.

It’s important that you support Catherine Melvin, the most dedicated candidate for ERS Board of Trustees.  She is from DPS and understands LECOS.  She also understands Defined Benefit retirement vs. Defined Contribution.  Read, it’s your future.

Also read the Legislative Update.  Deborah Ingersoll gives you the latest on what’s going on at the Capitol.

Read about stress cops deal with and health tips.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

TSTA is easy to join. Go to www.texasstatetrooper.org and click on Join TSTA or use the application on page 12.  Only $25 a year, and great representation.

We thank you officers for what you do.

Sincerely,
Claude Hart
Executive Director
Texas State Troopers Association

FEBRUARY 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER

Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Click on FEBRUARY 2017 TSTA NEWSLETTER to access the current issue of “Texas State Trooper”.

On the front page read about trooper Danny Shaw who was seriously wounded by gunfire while on border security.  Danny we were glad we could help.

Deborah Ingersoll’s “Legislative Update” is complete and informative.

“From the Executive Director” explains the difference between a defined pension plan and a defined contribution plan.  In other words why we must keep what you have.

Judge Gist, you’ve done it again, a great article on plea bargaining.

“Crier’s Chronicles” points out some bad legislation that is being filed and we vow to fight it.

Retired Trooper Richard Williams known as “Big R” has succumbed to heart problems. He founded “His Kids”.  We will miss you Richard!

Ranger Stan Guffey was slain in 1987 while rescuing a kidnapped little girl.  Thanks to all who pay him honor.

Read what your $25 annual dues get you on page 8.  There are also some good health tips on page 9.

Read, learn and enjoy!

Sincerely,

Claude Hart
Executive Director

State Report Highlights Public Safety Threats to Texas

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released the 2017 Texas Public Safety Threat Overview, a state intelligence estimate that offers an assessment of the current public safety threats to Texas.

“Protecting Texans from the full scope of public safety and homeland security threats is the foremost goal of DPS, and the department works with our fellow law enforcement partners at all levels of government to prepare for the unthinkable,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “This report provides an invaluable assessment of the most significant threats facing our state and is a crucial tool in combating those threats.”

The report draws on the data and perspectives of multiple law enforcement and homeland security agencies, whose contributions were essential to developing this assessment. It also includes a description of the state’s systematic approach to detect, assess and prioritize public safety threats within seven categories, including terrorism, crime, natural disasters, motor vehicle crashes, public health, industrial accidents and cyber threats.

The report ascertains that, due to recent terrorist attacks perpetrated by domestic lone offenders and large foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the current terrorism threat to Texas is elevated. The assessment also recognizes that the heightened threat is expected to persist during the next year, due in part to the relatively high number of recent terrorism-related arrests and thwarted plots, and the prevalence of ISIS’s online recruitment and incitement messaging.

Additional significant findings include:

  • Threats from violent domestic antigovernment extremists remain concerning in light of standoffs with federal law enforcement in Oregon in 2014 and Nevada in early 2016, as well as a series of ambush murders of police officers.
  • Crime threatens the public safety and liberty of all Texans in some way. DPS Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program data for 2015 shows a 4.7 percent decrease of the major crime rate in Texas from 2014. This is positive for the safety and welfare of our citizens. Conversely, violent crimes in particular increased for the second year in a row. Texas’ UCR program includes seven index crimes: homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. What the index crime data does not currently account for are other crimes typically committed by criminal organizations that impact the security of Texas communities, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, money laundering, and public corruption.
  • Criminal organizations – including Mexican cartels and transnational gangs – and individual criminals engage in a wide range of illicit activities in Texas. Among the vilest crimes these organizations and other criminals engage in is the exploitation and trafficking of children and other vulnerable victims. Human trafficking is highly profitable, and is the fastest growing organized crime business in Texas.
  • All eight of the major Mexican cartels operate in Texas, and they have enlisted transnational and statewide gangs to support their drug and human smuggling and human trafficking operations on both sides of the border.
  • Gangs continue to pose a significant public safety threat to Texas, and their propensity for violence and many kinds of criminal activity is persistent. While the greatest concentrations of gang activity tend to be in the larger metropolitan areas, gang members are also present in the surrounding suburbs and in rural areas. Gang activity is especially prevalent in some of the counties adjacent to Mexico and along key smuggling corridors, since many Texas-based gangs are involved in cross-border trafficking.
  • Motor vehicle crashes killed 3,520 people in Texas in 2015. In addition, the high volume of commercial motor vehicles on Texas’ roadways is a particular concern because of the increased potential for loss of life when large-mass commercial vehicles are involved in crashes.
  • Texas faces an array of natural threats, including floods, hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, and drought, with more major disaster declarations than any other state in the nation. These disasters result in loss of life, damage to infrastructure, and billions of dollars in personal property damage and economic losses.
  • Public health threats to Texas remain a significant concern, with emerging infectious diseases and other illnesses such as influenza and enteroviruses.
  • Major industrial accidents constitute another potential threat to public safety, especially because of the large industrial base in Texas. The state’s vast size and economic importance contribute to the potential for severe consequences if any significant accidents occur.
  • Since technology has become a target, a vulnerability and a tool used by criminals and foreign governments, cyber threats continue to be a significant area of concern, and we are especially concerned about the potential consequences of a successful cyberattack on the state’s critical infrastructure.

“As terrorism has become more disaggregated, communities in Texas and across the nation are facing a heightened threat of terrorism, and the continued potential for attacks against civilians and members of law enforcement is a serious ongoing concern,” said Director McCraw. “The report identifies several other unique threats to our state – including organized crime and Mexican cartels, natural disasters and cyber attacks – for which we must be prepared. With the 2017 Texas Public Safety Threat Overview in mind, DPS will continue working with our law enforcement partners to prevent, respond to and recover from all potential threats facing our state.”

To view the complete 2017 Teaxs Pubic Safety Threat Overview, visit
http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/
2017/threatOverview20170115.pdf
.