Saturday, July 12, 2008

Top DPS cop will step down Aug 31

Texas Department of Public Safety Colonel Tommy Davis announced his pending retirement after 43 years with the agency. Here's a roundup of MSM coverage:
Under Davis DPS grew into a fiefdom that may be dismantled upon his departure. Poor security during the Governor's mansion fire seems to have provided an excuse for Davis' critics to unleash long-pent up disapprobation in what has turned into a near-perfect storm for the long-time agency head. DPS was already engaged in a struggle with the Governor for control over Texas emergency management services, the Sunset Commission proposed taking away driver license and vehicle registration duties from DPS, and problems at DPS-run crime labs have generated calls for independent management. At a recent Sunset Commission hearing, the Colonel took more heat from legislators than probably at any previous time in his tenure.

Colonel Davis deserves thanks for more than four decades of service to the state in a DPS uniform. Despite recent criticisms, I'm glad to see him going out on his own terms. Good luck, Colonel. Enjoy your retirement.

MORE: From Kuff, Paul Burka, and the Texas Observer.


Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit you in the ass.
Absolutely worthless agency, should be sunset'ed.

Anonymous said...

Grits for Breakfast:

Any luck obtaining a copy of the Federal Lawsuit: Steve Lara versus Bexar County Adult Probation Director William Fitzgerald?

Robert Langham said...

One of his folks- a trooper, testified in the Federal court, with the jury absent, that he watched FBI people load BOTH metal doors of the Davidian Compound into a truck and drive out.
He certainly served in some interesting times.
Remember when he was caught stealing state money via the fees of the CCL program? The DPS was suppossed to run it- by law- at cost and it turned out it was a cash cow for the m. He refused to return the money to the general fund. Millions of bucks. The legislature lengthened the time the licenses were valid and heavily discounted seniors, vets, et, to make up for his not following the law.

Anonymous said...

I do not know if DPS should be sunsetted, but it certainly needs serious internal corrections of the way it operates.

I am working with a new small group here in Austin that is going to fight the implementation of the Real ID Act for Texas drivers licenses (DL) and ID cards.

I spoke with a woman with a high postion in the DPS DL division, and she said they are working up the figures for how much implementing the ReadID would cost them and they're going to provide that info to the legislature. She tried to give the impression DPS is neutral, but after read this article about the agency head retiring and referring to it as a "feifdom", I strongly suspect that DPS will try to get the big appropriations and hundreds of new employees and expanded powers that Texas' adoption of the Real ID plan will convey. It will give them so much more power and control.

The Real ID is destined to be nothing but a big hideous failure, just like the Social Security card became and just like all federally run huge data bases. Federal gross corruption and ineptness working on top of Texas DPA gross corruption and ineptness. What a nightmare for every Texan.

The Real ID Act was sneaked and hushed and rushed into law by Sensenbreener of Wisconsin in the exact same scurilous manner that Texas House Bill 3588 (Trans Texas Corridor and double tax local toll roads and conversions) was uninamously voted for in 2003 by our Texas legislature. Huge government expansions that begin in this corrupt manner deserve to be extinquished NOW by anyone calling themself a real Texan.

Anonymous said...

So if DPS is sunsetted (new verb!) does that mean I get to speed all I want?

Don Dickson said...

I wish for his sake that Col. Davis was retiring "on his own terms." I correctly predicted the Colonel's retirement date on the Texas State Troopers Assn. web site message board on August 9, 2005; but as I told the reporters this week, I'm kinda sad for him to see his retirement linked to recent events and criticisms which I suspect had little or nothing to do with it.

For all our disagreements -- and believe me, there have been some hot ones -- Colonel Davis benefits by comparison with several of his predecessors. He was always cordial and professional in his dealings with me, and I'm kinda sorry to see him go.

I wish him great joy in retirement.

Change-is-a-comin'. But as I've cautioned TSTA's members, you should be careful what you wish for.

The DPS is in a sorry state, and it will only get worse until both the Legislature and the Department commit themselves to improvements in what I have referred to as the "holy trinity" -- pay, benefits and working conditions. In the last few sessions everyone has been singularly focused on pay raises; and pay raises are great, I don't know anyone who wouldn't like one, but pay raises have had no lasting beneficial effect on recruiting or morale.

We need a lot more Troopers. Not only do we have 250 vacancies, and 350 more projected over the next two years, but we need a larger force of commissioned officers. And pay alone is not going to attract them as long as the Department continues to have Cro-Magnon attitudes toward its human resources. It's just a no-brainer for young people to pick a career at the Plano PD over the DPS. The Department has got to change that, and it isn't a problem that the Legislature can solve just by jacking up the pay.

Happy fishin', Colonel.

Anonymous said...

Years ago a decision was made, how I don't really know, to clean up the LCRA. David Freeman was hired to do the job, and he did. The cleaning up and cleaning out he did pretty much continues to this day.

Texas needs the same kind of approach with DPS. Get someone in charge who has an excellent track record in law enforcement, and as an administrator, and tell him, or her, to clean house and put the house in order.

As it is now, DPS is a threat to Texans.

Anonymous said...

I listened to a recording of some attorneys at the headquarters ACLU discussing Real ID. They said that there is "rampant fraud" and that is is "internal" fraud in all the DMV drivers license issuing bureaus in all the states.

I was rather astounded at that. There are people with DPS probably giving people drivers licenses who should not have them or otherwise fraudulently issuing drivers licenses.

I do not think most people have a clear picture of the kind of corruption or the degree of corruption that exists in the DPS. I know it is not just about troopers who are not happy with pay and benefits.