From the outside, the Texas Highway Patrol Museum doesn’t look like a multimillion-dollar telemarketing operation.
Based near downtown in a single-story brick building at South Alamo and St. Mary’s streets, the small museum offers exhibits that honor Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.
But it draws few visitors, and people who work nearby have wondered how it stays in business.
“I have yet to see one person inside that place,” said Scott Cates, a waiter and lounge singer at La Focaccia Italian Grill next door. “Matter of fact, I was wondering why it’s even there. What’s the point?”
Records show the museum actually is a telemarketing operation that employs hundreds of workers across the state who generated nearly $12 million in revenue from 2004 to 2009.
The museum is one of 25 organizations registered in Texas that raise funds in the name of supporting law enforcement. Helping police officers and their families is the kind of cause that makes donors open their pocketbooks — especially when an officer dies in the line of duty.
But state officials warn that many organizations, including the highway patrol museum in San Antonio, spend most of the donations on fundraising costs and overhead. The museum collects donations in the name of honoring and helping DPS troopers — even as DPS, the state agency that employs those troopers, warns donors to avoid giving the museum money.
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