There once was a time that the Texas Department of Public Safety was a state agency of which the citizens of the State of Texas could be proud. Sadly, this is not the case today. While this organization no doubt has many hard-working and honest officers it is now without question that a number of criminals and sexual-predators now wear the uniform. No longer should anybody feel safe or secure when getting stopped by one of these troopers.
Entrenched and under-supervised the members of this organization are engaging in widespread and egregious abuses of citizens throughout the state. While these troopers are all sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution these troopers are being trained to routinely find ways violate it. It is now commonplace for troopers to stop people for fabricated reasons, detain them unlawfully, identify them unlawfully, and search them unlawfully. Indeed the Texas Highway Patrol is fast-garnering the worst reputation of all law enforcement agencies in the United States for citizen abuse.
Without discussing the myriad of instances of excessive force, theft, drug possession and trafficking, official misconduct and official oppression (nearly 80 troopers fired in the last 10 years) the most troubling are more recent allegations and arrest of troopers involved their use of official authority to act as sexual predators and the citizens they stopped as their prey. No longer should any citizen feel safe being stopped by trooper on a remote Texas Highway.
Some of the more noteworthy instances include two troopers in Harris County who were caught turning off their dash-recorders so they would not capture the sexual advances they were making on women they stopped; a trooper in Eastland County allowed to remain on the job following allegations from four different women for making unwelcome sexual comments even with one of the complainants being herself a police officer; a trooper in Hildago County jailed on an indictment of official oppression for making unwelcome sexual advances to a woman he had stopped; a woman in Brazoria County alleging she was sexually assaulted by trooper under the guise of conducting a roadside body cavity search, followed by the same allegations by two women in Dallas County, and two more women in Harris County.
These instances in Dallas in Harris County are well documented in viral videos that can easily be found on YouTube. Other than border crossings intrusive body cavity search should never be conducted without a search warrant and should always be conducted by qualified medical personnel in a dignified manner and under sanitary conditions. In the latter cases the troopers claimed they were looking for (what must've been minute amounts of) marijuana. None was found.
Since citizens have no way of distinguishing the good troopers from the bad ones the good troopers need to sadly understand they are no longer entitled to the full faith and credit they once had due to the conduct of their peers. The following safety guidelines are suggested for anyone that should find themselves being stopped on a remote roadway by member of the Texas Highway Patrol.
- The law requires you to immediately pull over and stop.
- Do so as soon as you safely can and immediately make sure all the doors on your vehicle are locked and your windows rolled up.
- The law requires you to display your driver's license and provide the officer proof of insurance. Crack your window wide enough for them to be able to hear you and you to be able to hear them but not so wide that they could reach inside and unlock the vehicle. Slide these documents out to the trooper through the opening when they ask for them. If they ask you to roll your window down or open the door it is perfectly fine to explain you fear for your safety and ask them if they wouldn't mind following you to a safe well lit location where others citizens are around. Note: If you are driving while intoxicated it would not be reasonable to expect the trooper to abide by this request.
- Policy, training, and the Constitution requires this trooper to tell you the reason he or she has stopped you when they first approach. If they fail to tell you, ask.
- Passengers lawfully belted in their seats in the vehicle are under no obligation whatsoever to speak to this trooper or to provide identification and they would be wise not to do so absent some reasonable observation by the trooper and they were engaged in some criminal activity. Certainly they are under no obligation to roll down their windows or open their doors to grant this trooper access to their secure environment. They are a bystander to this entire encounter.
- Pay particular attention to the duration of the stop. A peace officer may stop a motorist for a traffic infraction. They are allowed reasonable time to run their customary checks and to take remedial action be it warning or a citation. This should not take more than a few minutes. They are not allowed to extend the duration of the stop any longer than is necessary for the original reason for the stop. You are not required to answer irrelevant questions such as destination or reason for travel. They are asking these questions not for the purpose of being friendly or making small-talk but rather to try and find an excuse to detain you further. (Such as inconsistent statements made by the driver and passengers. Limit your discussion with this trooper to only the matter at hand which is the reason they stated for stopping you and tell them you intend to limit your discussions if they attempt to persist. Any attempts to question the passengers the passenger should simply state "I am not involved in this you need to talk to the driver." There is no set time for how long these encounters should take. However, if more than 15 minutes should pass it is perfectly reasonable for you to ask this trooper what is taking so long and start asserting your right to leave. However, do not just leave. (There could be a legitimate reason for delay, for example getting confirmation on an outstanding warrant, etc.) If you're detention is taking inordinately long you have the right to know why and to ask to leave and it is important that you do so for two reasons: One is to nail down the reasoning behind this officer's conduct to limit the opportunity to fabricate more reasoning later. The other is to dispel their later claims that you just voluntarily sat there talking to them. While their citations call for telephone and employer information, you are not required to provide this. An officer that stops you for a routine traffic violation is not lawfully entitled to any more information than can be found on your driver's license.
- If you are asked to sign a citation you by all means should do so. That is not an admission of guilt but merely a promise to appear in court and take care of the citation. If you refuse to do so the officer can escalate the situation by taking you into custody and requiring you to post a bond. Once you have been given the citation or warning the encounter is over. Bid them adieu. Thank them for their courtesy and service to the community. Roll your window up and leave without ANY further discussion.