Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Read the December 2016 issue of the Texas State Trooper by clicking here.

Our cover story features Jack Lawler, the retiring editor of TSTA’s newsletter. Jack, it’s been a great 25 years. We’ll miss you.

Judge Gist has a great article concerning investigative stops supporting subsequent searches. This is a need to read.

TSTA Legal Counsel Jack Crier will include monthly articles. They will be known as Crier’s Chronicles and will contain great information.

During the legislative session we will attempt to inform you of important issues that will affect you at the Capitol. Read Deborah Ingersoll’s monthly updates.

TSTA always includes the valuable health tips form the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. This month’s subject is Blood Pressure. Need to read.

Then, what your $25 membership gets you. Now that’s a great deal.

See you next month,

Claude Hart
Executive Director
Texas State Troopers Association


Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Read the October-November 2016 issue of Texas State Trooper by clicking here. The front page features Rick & Don Metcalf who for years have honored the memories of fallen troopers. Also it continues on to explain what we can do to assist them and the project.

On page 2 there is good information from Judge Gist on legally appropriate stops vs. legally improper stops. Be right – read this.

Next, read about your new Board of Directors – President, Vice President and Secretary Treasurer. Three good men. TSTA is very fortunate to have this dedicated Board.

TSTA is so blessed to have the ability to assist the Spjut family whose daughter Lauren has been so ill. Story page 11.

Read “What your $25 annual dues get you” on page 15 and how to join TSTA on page 17.


Claude Hart
Executive Director

DPS Offers Halloween Safety Tips for Texans

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding parents, drivers and children that Halloween can be fun without sacrificing safety. Adults and kids can avoid a variety of potential dangers by adhering to basic safety practices and using extra caution in areas where trick-or-treaters will be celebrating.

“As we head into the weekend before Halloween, we are calling on Texans to take security and safety seriously,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Drivers should be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters of all ages who might walk along our roads or suddenly cross the street. Also, if alcohol will be part of your celebration, always designate a sober driver or choose alternate transportation.”

DPS offers the following tips to keep in mind while driving during Halloween:

* Don’t drink and drive. (Designate a sober driver or take a cab.)
* Eliminate distractions, including the usage of mobile devices.
*Slow down; and further reduce speeds in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.

When planning a trick-or-treat route, parents may visit the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry – which includes a mapping function – to check for offenders who may be living in their neighborhood at

Parents can also check the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry for offenders in their neighborhood by downloading the free DPS mobile app for use on iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets. The app provides interactive and easy-to-use maps for searching registered sex offenders by location, name, route and proximity. To see a demonstration of how to search by route using the DPS app, see Individuals can also report suspicious or criminal activity with the mobile app, at or by calling 1-844-643-2251.

The app is currently available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store ( and for Android users on Google Play (

Texans can also stay safe by using these Halloween safety tips:

* Look both ways before crossing roadways, and always walk; don’t run.
* Cross the roadway at intersections and crosswalks.
* Travel in groups with adult supervision.
* Do not enter the cars or homes of strangers, and avoid homes without visible porch lights.
* Make sure children know their home phone number and how to call 911 or their local emergency number in case they have an emergency or become lost.
* Take all treats home for an adult to inspect before eating anything, and nevereat unwrapped candy.

Individuals should also follow these tips when selecting a costume:

* Avoid toy guns and knives – they could easily be mistaken for a real weapon.
* Wear costumes that are light in color or place reflective material on the costume, so drivers can see you.
* Avoid using masks, if possible, to allow for better visibility and peripheral vision.
* Carry a flashlight.

Orange trooper awarded Purple Heart from Texas DPS

A Texas Highway Patrol trooper in Orange received a Purple Heart Thursday from the Texas Public Safety Commission and Texas Department of Public Safety, DPS announced.

Kimberly Ousman suffered “multiple injuries” on July 23, 2014, when she was struck while conducting a crash investigation along Interstate 10 in Orange County, according to Texas DPS.

A Lake Charles man, Will Houston, then 71, was charged with failure to control speed, according to previous Enterprise reporting. Houston’s vehicle struck Ousman’s patrol car, and the force of the impact pushed Ousman’s car into the previously crashed vehicle, which then struck Ousman according to Texas DPS.

Two other DPS employees received Lifesaving Awards. Sgt. Brad Gibson, of Austin, received an award for helping revive a driver who had stopped breathing. Troopers Robert Bowden and Matthew Ferguson, of Shamrock, who assisted a man severely injured in a rollover crash, according to Texas DPS.

Texas troopers to ride some school buses in safety push

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Some Texas troopers will give up patrol cars and instead ride school buses in a child safety effort.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says the plan is part of National School Bus Safety Week, which began Monday and runs through Friday.

It’s illegal in Texas to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal — either flashing red lights or a stop sign. Troopers will be watching for drivers who violate the law, which could lead to fines of up to $1,250.

A DPS statement says troopers in parts of Texas will be riding on or following school buses to catch violators.

Texas troopers, during 2015 and so far in 2016, have issued nearly 1,100 tickets for illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Public Safety Commission, DPS Honor Employees

AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented one Purple Heart and three Lifesaving Awards to employees for their admirable service and courageous actions.

“Every day our commissioned personnel put their lives on the line to protect and serve the residents of this state, and their vigilance undoubtedly makes Texas a better place to live,” said Director McCraw. “On behalf of DPS and the entire state, I want to thank you for your commitment to helping others. These awards are a token of our tremendous appreciation for all that you do to safeguard our communities from a wide variety of public safety threats.”

The following awards were presented today:

Trooper Kimberly Ousman, Texas Highway Patrol in Orange, received a Purple Heart. On July 23, 2014, Ousman was conducting a crash investigation on Interstate 10 in Orange County, when a separate vehicle struck Ousman’s patrol vehicle from behind. The force of the impact pushed her patrol car into the previously crashed vehicle, which then struck Ousman, who suffered multiple injuries.

Sgt. Brad Gibson, Texas Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement in Austin, received a Lifesaving Award. While off duty on July 12, 2016, Gibson noticed a vehicle stopped in the roadway near the intersection of SH 130 and Parmer Lane in Travis County. He observed the vehicle’s passenger trying to move the driver, who was unresponsive. Gibson assisted the passenger in moving the driver away from traffic and ultimately began administering chest compressions in an attempt to revive the driver. The driver eventually began to breathe on his own and was transported to a hospital for treatment.

Trooper Robert Bowden, Texas Highway Patrol in Childress, and Trooper Matthew Ferguson, Texas Highway Patrol in Shamrock, each received a Lifesaving Award. On July 2, 2016, Bowden and Ferguson were the first units to arrive at a truck-tractor rollover crash in Childress County. When Ferguson made contact with the passenger, he observed that the man had severe lacerations to his right arm and asked Bowden to retrieve a tourniquet. Bowden then applied the tourniquet to the passenger’s arm to slow the bleeding. Ferguson later applied a second tourniquet on the passenger’s arm when the bleeding continued. EMS ultimately arrived and provided additional medical treatment.

DPS Bolsters School Bus Safety Efforts

AUSTIN – In conjunction with National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 17-21), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging drivers to comply with laws prohibiting the passing of school buses. During this period, DPS Highway Patrol troopers will be watching for drivers who violate the law and taking the appropriate enforcement action. It is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign.

“Any time a driver disregards a stopped school bus, they put children’s lives in danger, and DPS will not tolerate individuals who ignore the law, putting their own convenience before a child’s safety,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “In order to help keep children safe, we urge drivers to always obey the law and remain alert when traveling near a school bus or bus stops where students gather.”

“The safety of our schoolchildren is always a priority at the Texas Education Agency. We appreciate the dedication by Texas Highway Patrol Troopers during National School Bus Safety week – and throughout the entire year – to help ensure our students have a safe trip to and from school,” said Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath.

During National School Bus Safety Week, troopers in many areas will be riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who break the law. Because children are particularly vulnerable when entering or exiting a school bus, Troopers will also be patrolling areas where school buses pick up and drop off students, looking for motorists violating the school bus law. Drivers who violate the law could face fines as much as $1,250.

In 2015 and year to date in 2016, Texas Highway Patrol troopers have issued 1,093 tickets for passing a stopped school bus. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, failure to stop for a school bus was a contributing factor in 45 traffic crashes on Texas roadways last year.

According to Texas statute, a driver – traveling in either direction – must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. The driver may not proceed until one of the following occurs: the school bus resumes motion; the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or the visual signal is no longer activated.

If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists going in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.

(As a reminder, school buses, by law, must stop at all railroad crossings.)

Here are several safety measures drivers can take to help keep children safer:

When driving in school zones, watch out for student pedestrians.
Slow down and watch for children congregating near bus stops.
Look for children who might dart into the street without looking for traffic.
Know and obey the laws concerning traffic and school buses in Texas.
According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport approximately 1.5 million Texas children every school day.

DPS Trooper helps deliver Burleson County baby


DPS Trooper Joe Morris helped deliver a baby boy in the parking lot of the CEFCO Gas Station at FM 50 and FM 60 Saturday morning.

Around 10:15 a.m. Burleson County dispatchers got a call about a woman in labor in the gas station parking lot.

Trooper Morris was close by and arrived before emergency medical crews could get there.

Thanks to his childbirth training in the DPS Academy, he was able to help deliver a healthy baby boy.

The woman and her newborn were taken to Scott and White in College Station in an ambulance. Her husband followed behind them.

Select Driver License Offices Open Saturdays to Issue Election Identification Certificates

Certificates also available at mobile stations, select county locations

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans in advance of the upcoming General Election that Election Identification Certificates (EIC), which can be used for voting purposes, are available year-round at all Texas driver license offices. In an ongoing effort to ensure Texans have access to EICs, DPS is offering Saturday hours on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 at select driver license offices to issue EICs. In addition, EIC mobile stations will be deployed to various locations across the state, and alternate approved locations are issuing EICs in select counties.Read more

Trooper, Temple man rewarded for heroism


Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. D.L. Wilson and Temple resident Robert Sneed were honored Aug. 31 in Austin with a FedEx Heroism Award for helping save the life of Wallace Altom on March 10.
Altom was driving on northbound Interstate 35 in Temple when the FedEx truck he drove crashed into a concrete barrier and retaining wall before bursting into flames. Wilson and Sneed pulled Altom clear of the blaze.

Wilson was driving behind the FedEx truck when the accident happened. He saw the cab become a fireball, but he couldn’t get near it because of the extreme heat. Then he saw a man crawl out from underneath the fire, he said.

He tried to pull Altom clear of the flames and heat, but he couldn’t on his own, Wilson said. Then he looked up as a man scaled a 7-foot wall, jump down and run to help him. That was Sneed.

Together, the two men pulled Altom clear of the inferno.
“I was very appreciative to be honored with this prestigious award. I was just doing my job that I am trained for,” Wilson said Tuesday. “I am more proud we have citizens like Mr. Sneed that will come to the aid of others in need.”

Sneed, who heard the accident, jumped into his Jeep 4×4 and drove through a mud-filled construction area, knocked down barricades, drove up a bridge under construction and climbed a wall to get to the truck’s wreckage, he said.

Sneed shared his feelings about the rescue with a Telegram reporter soon after it occurred.

“I just wish people would take responsibility for the well being of others,” Sneed said. “It was strange that I had a discussion with my son the night before about doing what is right and leaving a good legacy behind when you go. Ten hours later, I was facing one of those life-altering moments in the eyes.”