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Study procedures for assets seized during arrest, including the
authority and jurisdiction of the county sheriff, chief of police,
and the DPS; and the relationship between those offices and respective
county, city, and state governing entities.
In 1989, the state's forfeiture laws were rewritten in Chapter
59, Code of Criminal Procedure. Property forfeiture is administered
by the district attorney, and forfeited property is divided pursuant
to a local agreement between the prosecutor's office and the law
enforcement agencies. The proceeds of forfeited property are
usually divided between the district attorney and the law enforcement
agencies responsible for the seizure to be used for "official
Study the Harris County contract deputy program.
Established in 1970, the contract deputy program is a unique law
enforcement concept found only in the Houston area. The program
was originally conceived as a temporary solution to a lack of
law enforcement in unincorporated areas of Harris County, but
as Houston grew, the commissioner's court expanded the program
as a less costly way of providing law enforcement. Over time,
the contract deputy program has become an entrenched law-enforcement
system. However, the state attorney general has declared the
program unconstitutional in three separate opinions, and the Harris
County auditor has indicated that the cost of putting contract
deputies on the street is considerably more than the county had
Study water safety laws for revisions that may be necessary to
enhance protection of the public.
The Texas Water Safety Act, initially passed by the 56th Legislature
in 1959, gave the Texas Highway Department authority for administrative
and registration responsibilities, and made all peace officers
responsible for enforcing the Act's provisions. In 1965, game
wardens were given authority to enforce the Water Safety Act,
and in 1969, the 61st Legislature transferred all powers, duties,
and authority originally vested in the Highway Department to the
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Conduct active oversight of programs and agencies under the committee's
jurisdiction, including implementation of S.B. 60 and H.B. 713.
The focus of the committee's interim study was the Department
of Public Safety's implementation of S.B. 60 and H.B. 713, which
allow the carrying of concealed weapons. The committee found
that when DPS began accepting applications for concealed weapons
in September 1995, there was not a license production system in
place. An unexpectedly large number of individuals submitted
applications, creating a backlog.
Although the backlog has been cleared, the initial rush created
a "ripple effect" in the DPS licensing scheme. Resolution
of a block of applications has been delayed more than 90 days
because of potentially disqualifying factors: (1) outstanding
dispositions on arrests; and (2) delinquencies in taxes, student
loan, or child support payments.