Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fort Worth chief apologizes for use of off-duty officers at NHTSA roadblock

The Fort Worth Police Chief issued an apology on Thursday for allowing off-duty police officers to participate in a federal survey in which they stopped drivers to request DNA swabs, breathalyzer tests and blood samples, the Dallas News reported. Though the survey was ostensibly voluntary, the use of uniformed officers meant drivers were under the impression they had no choice but to pull over. Here's the text of the chief's statement, which included contact info for the federal agency that initiated the effort:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hired off-duty Fort Worth Police officers to assist with the Roadside Survey by providing traffic safety and security of cash used to pay survey participants. This survey was intended to be voluntary and was conducted by NHTSA personnel.

We are reviewing the approval process for this survey’s utilization of FWPD off-duty officers not only to ensure that our policies and procedures were followed, but also to ensure that any off-duty job is in the absolute best interest of our citizens.

We realize this survey caused many of our citizens frustration and we apologize for our participation.
“I agree with our citizens concerns and I apologize for our participation. Any future Federal survey of this nature, which jeopardizes the public’s trust, will not be approved for the use of Fort Worth police.”

Chief Jeffrey Halstead

*** Please express your concern with this survey to the media relations office with the USDOT NHTSA - Kathryn Henry 202-366-6918;
Readers concerned about this tactic should contact the NHTSA to tell them to re-think their methods. 

RELATED: Fort Worth cops used roadblock to gather cheek swabs, blood draws for federal research project.


gravyrug said...

Were the off-duty cops in uniform? Are they allowed to wear their official uniforms to off-duty jobs? Why are non-official, "voluntary" programs allowed to set up road blocks? This whole thing stinks of fraudulent abuse of authority.

Anonymous said...

Off with their heads!

Anonymous said...

The apology should be for detaining people illegally, not for participating in a survey.

rodsmith said...

nice. Now if he'd just had the balls to follow it with his resignation. Him and every officer who was involved

Will Yablome said...

Polish up your Jackboots!

Anonymous said...

The off duty cops used city police cars also. This was pure deception to intimidate the citizens to comply. Worse yet, they claim to not know any better? Yeah right.

Anonymous said...

Police can use their police powers for personal gain in off-duty private ventures unless prohibited by their respective departments. They can enforce the law, but not house rules. The term rent-a-cop probably derived from this. Using their uniform and police equipment for personal gain is commonplace. Most cops will work off-duty for anyone, including the cartels.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Let's not go overboard, 12:22. Cops must get permission from their departments to work off duty in uniform, so I doubt there are many episodes of working for the cartels. We did have a scandal in Austin ("Mala Sangre") in the '90s where cops were working off duty at a night club allegedly associated with drug dealers, but that's the exception, not the rule.

I think 10:40 has it right. The issue here is using uniformed cops for deception and intimidation so the feds could garner blood and DNA samples drivers wouldn't have given on their own. It's a stretch to go from there to working as cartel muscle.

Anonymous said...

The point being that cops regulate themselves in that respect. Who else is allowed to do that? Where is the oversight? How does the public know if there are any other incidents? Truth is, we will not know if it is an official police function, a federal voluntary program, or a cop unwittingly working to promote some organized criminal activity.

Anonymous said...

Grits, if anyone went overboard is was the jerk with - off with their heads a day earlier. When an - off with their goddamn badges would have been better served for all.

Thats the kind of bullshit comment that gives ammo to those that think GFB readers are a bunch of criminals or criminal lovers and starts up stopwatches over in Murray's backyard.

With that out of the way, if we changed the players from - off duty police to - police impersonators or former ADAs this would be news worthy. Enough so that the lame stream media would be all over it.

But, since its about real police, its covered up with a simple apology. The taxpayers will fund an out of court settlement before Christmas. Ok folks, nothing to see here, move along.

The Simpsons did it!. Vote Quniby!

Rich T said...

TPTB will use any advantage that they can get away with.

As usual there will be the "mea culpa" and all will be forgotten. To hell with that. break out the tar & feathers and find the tall tree's & short ropes.

Hold the bastrards accountable so the others will know that they can't get away with it.

Anonymous said...

Dig deep into NHTSA.