DPSOA Public Safety Commission Meeting Summary – 2/18/2010

Public Safety Commission

Meeting

February 18, 2010, 10:30 a.m.

Criminal Law Enforcement Auditorium

6100 Guadalupe, Bldg E

Austin, TX 78752

SUMMARY

 

(This report represents a summary of events of the meeting,

 and is not necessarily complete nor an exact transcript of testimony.)

The Public Safety Commission convened as posted to consider and take formal action on the following agenda items:

I.      CALL TO ORDER

10:43 am  Commissioner Clowe called the meeting to order. In attendance: Commissioners Tom Clowe, Carin Barth, John Steen and Ada Brown. Also present were Director Steve McCraw, Dep. Dir. Lamar Beckworth, Dep. Director Brad Rable, and General Counsel Stuart Platt.  A quorum is present. Chairman Alan Polunsky was ill, and could not be present for the start of the meeting.  Commissioner Clowe chaired the meeting until Chairman Polunsky arrived at 11:34.

II.      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Minutes were approved unanimously.

III.      PUBLIC COMMENT  (members of the public wishing to address the Commission are subject to a time limit of 5 minutes and must complete a Public Comment Registration Card located at the entry)

None

A.         DIRECTOR REPORT

Presentation for Diamond Jubilee logo design

Director Steve McCraw – We attended the third Homeland Security Conference in San Antonio, with 5,782 in attendance. The leadership was impressed with the progress being made at DPS with the Regional Commanders in place.  It was a great conference.

 

Highway Patrol – 8,598 employees with 3893 commissioned officers.  Alert training is included in the Recruit class

 

Since 9/1/2009 the Highway Patrol Division has had 4,660 felony arrests, 371 pursuits on highways, 414 drug seizures, 10, 524 DWI arrests, $5.5 million is cash seizures; The Texas Rangers in 2009 had 1,096 felony charges, 234 murder convictions.  I credit much of this success with our unified DPS response across all Divisions.  The church arson case remains a priority.  We are taking a multi-disciplinary approach.

 

Border Security – Dir. McCraw said that our Border Security is the most successful operation of all of the border states, and gave credit to the Boarder Star initiative as implemented by DPS and to the Governor. Dir. McCraw reported a 40% decrease in illegal aliens and a 55% increase in marijuana seizures.  This year, 1897 lbs. of drugs have been seized, and $42,987,000 in cash headed for Mexico has been confiscated.

 

Concealed Hand Gun Licensing – Col. McCraw stated that they are making sure that they are placing the proper emphasis on this issue. There are 42,841 concealed hand gun licenses in Texas.  The wait time for issuing a license has gone from an average of 105 days to 25 days.  There are three baselines for this progress: 1. Online instructor renewal; 2. Texas Online application; and 3. Automated fingerprint identification.

 

Regarding our Recruiting initiative, Col. McCraw reported that they are focusing on the 4 “R’s”:

 

Recruiters – Full time, committed recruiters on the road working to draw quality recruits

Recruit School – Reducing the Academy from 27 weeks to 18 weeks is the right thing to do.  It will help to make us more competitive and we will be working the recruits harder during the 18 weeks, including longer hours and more class time. Also, the 7-8 week course for already commissioned officers will be offered.

Regionalism – If you are from the panhandle and want to be stationed in the panhandle, you will be offered one of 3 duty stations in that area.

Responsibility – It literally is everyone’s responsibility to be recruiting quality people into the DPS.

 

Comm. Ada Brown asked if a formal name had been assigned to the abbreviated academy for already commissioned officers.  Dir. McCraw said no.  Ret. Sgt. Mike Resin (name?) of Caldwell suggested the title: “Advance School” which would remove the stigma of “abbreviated” and “modified” and imply that they are selecting the cream of the crop recruits from other agencies.  Dir. McCraw and Dep. Director Beckworth liked the title and it was agreed that the shortened course would be called Advance School.

 

Comm. Steen asked Dir. McCraw to expound on the progress in issuing CHLs.  Col. McCraw said that it began by just applying brute force to the problem, but slowly systems have been implemented to improve the process.

 

Comm. Steen raised concerns regarding delays when inspecting Commercial Vehicles hauling cattle, and Dir. McCraw had responded quickly.  We have initiated a “Free Pass” – trusted trucker program.  The concern with livestock is that if they remain stationary for more than 45 minutes, the livestock (cattle, poultry, etc.) are at risk.   Comm. Steen thanked the Director for the quick and good response.  The “Free Pass” program should be up and running within several months.

 

Comm. Clowe – we don’t often stop and look back at where we have come from.  I see the leadership team at DPS on a regular basis, but last month I had the opportunity to be with 2 DPS Troopers on a personal issue of an accident, and I never fail to be impressed with the courtesy and professionalism of our people.  It is most impressive and we need to continue to aspire to the highest level possible.  That is what will get us to where we need to be in the future.  Dir. McCraw agreed that from top to bottom, there is no other agency in the country with higher quality personnel.

 

Director McCraw and Deputy Dir. Beckworth presented a framed print of the 75th Anniversary Jubilee Logo to Jimmy Guckian, who submitted the winning design for the logo. Guckian was accompanied by his wife and three of his four children.  Along with the framed print, a check was also presented.  Dir. Beckworth jokingly suggested that he cash the check in the next 10 days.

IV.      NEW BUSINESS

A.        Follow up discussion, report and possible action on Physical Readiness Test for the

Department of Public Safety

Moved to the next meeting’s agenda.

B.        Discussion of FBI National Academy

Deputy Director Lamar Beckworth – we have several training programs for our higher level personnel to attend. One of the most popular is the FBI National Academy.  The criteria include that you have to be a higher ranking officer, above Sergeant, and be of the highest caliber.  The cost is $1500 per individual to send someone to this school.  They showed a list of employees who have attended.  This is an 11 week program. Individuals are selected by the Assistant Directors. It is a very fine program.  There was some discussion of how we can send more personnel to these training programs.

 

C.        Update report, discussion and possible action on Information Technologies

Deputy Director Brad Rable – There are 250 IT professionals and a tremendous group of senior leaders who have lead us through this journey.  We are not through, and this is simply an update report with no call for action from the Commission.  We want to be able to handle all of our own IT issues, without having to rely on outside resources.  We are working from our current slogan Courtesy, Service & Protection.

 

We are about 90% complete in staffing our leadership, hiring 10 from the outside, and keeping 7 from our current staff, with an average of 25 years of experience.

 

We changed the name from IMS (Information Management Services) to IT (Information Technology).  Every IT employee is assigned work and is tracked for progress. “Delivery Matters” is a phrase that you will be hearing a lot.

 

We handle issues on three levels:

 

Develop Strategy & Approach – Brian Lane

Deliver Capabilities – Mark Doggett

Manage & Monitor – Glenn Rosamond

 

IT Strategies

Stabilize the existing environment

Leverage Existing Applications/Data Sources (for example, reduce printers at HQ from 1711 to 400)

Achieved Substantial Savings and Reductions in Legacy IT Costs.

            Samples:         Eliminate optical discs – $300K

                                    Office printer consolidation – $500K

Focus Internal IT Staff on True Business Priorities

Significantly Increase Our Effectiveness in Preventing and Solving Crimes

IT Maturity Model (from Chaos to Reactive to Proactive to Service to Value)

 

Chairman Polunsky has joined and taken over as Chair of the Meeting at 11:35 am.

 

Comm. Steen asked how long DD Rable expects this IT Maturity Model will take to develop.  Dir. Rable said that at this time, we hope to get to Level 3 (Service) in 2012, but doesn’t necessarily feel that going to Level 4 (Value) to be necessary or cost effective.  Level 3 will put us head and shoulders above any other entity in this sector (law enforcement).

D.        Report, discussion and possible action including Executive search firm services for interview process for Audit and Review position  per GC411.242

Comm. Barth moved and Seconded by Comm. Clowe to begin the process for and Audit and Review position search.

 

Passed unanimously.

 

No interim Audit and Inspection position will be named.

E.        Report, discussion and possible action on Capitol security

F.        Review of pending contract renewal:

1.     Texas On Road Vehicle Emissions Testing Program (Environmental Systems

Products Holdings, Inc.)

Assistant Director Bowie and Assistant Director Valerie Fulmer – Administration.- it is a 1 year renewal and Comm. Barth has reviewed the contract as well.  Commission is OK on that.

V.      ADJOURN INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION (if required) to consult with legal counsel regarding pending or contemplated litigation or settlement offers or to receive legal advice on items posted on this agenda; deliberation regarding real estate matters; consideration of any other items authorized by law, including personnel matters, the Directors action of discharging employees as identified in this agenda; ongoing criminal investigations

Adjourn to Executive Session at 11:40 am.

 

Reconvene from Executive Session at 2:47 pm.

VI.      ONGOING BUSINESS

Reports, discussion and possible action regarding the following:

  1. A.            Introduction of new Inspector General

Inspector General Lafayette Collins – Having served since March of 2004 as a U.S. Marshal in the Western District as recommended by Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn to President Bush.  He began his role on February 1, 2010.  IG Collins has 34 years in law enforcement and is honored and humbled to be named to this appointment.

 

B.        Update report, discussion, and possible action by the Commission regarding modification and transformation of the DPS organizational structure approval of personnel placements and salaries pursuant to Government Code chapter 411, Secs.

411.005, 411.006 and 411.0071

Pass on this item. 

 

  1. B.           Review, discussion and possible action regarding the status of building safety and security at the DPS campus on North Lamar

Handled in Executive Session.. – we are still analyzing the necessary changes. It will take 60-90 days to have our Metes and Bounds study completed (the first step in the process of making modifications to the campus perimeter security).

  1. C.           Presentation, deliberation and possible action regarding the driver responsibility program including the Amnesty, Incentive and Indecency Programs, and consideration of authorizing the publication of the proposed repeal of current rule 15.163, and authorizing the publication of proposed new rule 15.163, 37 TAC 15.163, for notice and public comment in the Texas Register

Assistant Director Michael Kelley – We have made it so that letters that go out from our contracted collection agency makes it clear that it is coming from the collection agency and not from the Department.

 

We are trying to improve the 37% collection rate, but it hasn’t improved despite making it clear that the violator will not be able to get their driving privileges back until it is taken care of.

 

We are combining the Indigence Programs.  They will have to show that they are at 125% or less of the poverty level (a little over $10,000 for an individual. We are still determining what documentation will be necessary.  They will have to show proof of insurance and will be allowed to make a one-time modified payment ($250) to get back into compliance.

 

Comm. Barth questioned whether or not this figure might still be too high for someone at that income level.  Mr. Kelley asked for the Commissions permission to post it and wait for public comment before determining how much it will impact the indigent population.  There are plans for a public hearing.

 

Motion made by Comm. Steen, seconded by Comm. Brown.

 

Passed unanimously.

 

 

  1. D.           Report, discussion and possible action on the Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Budget

Cheryl McBride, Assistant Director of Finance (CFO) – Updated a variance schedule.  We are now carrying an excess budget balance of $5,014,000.

E.        Report, discussion and possible action regarding purchases using seized funds and clarification of use of seized funds

Cheryl McBride, Assistant Director of Finance (CFO), Dep. Director Lamar Smith, Assistant Director Tom Ruocco, Asst. Chief John Brannon, Aircraft Section –

 

 We have added in three items (body armor, tasers, and utility uniforms) and have added in 2 additional items, including High Retention Holsters.

 

Motion by Steen to spend up to $227,200 to purchase these holsters for those officers who would like them.

Seconded by Brown

 

Comm. Clowe asked for more discussion on the other items so that he would have a full picture of what they are asking for.

 

If approved (including helicopters), it would leave a balance of seized funds of $6,331,880.

 

Looking ahead to 2012, we will ask the legislature if we can use $5,313,958 from seized funds to purchase an additional helicopter and additional plane.

 

DPS currently has 14 helicopters that average approximately 500 hrs. per year in flight time.  The new helicopter will make it 15.

 

Asst. Chief John Brannon showed video of helicopter rescues using the higher capacity helicopters being requested.

 

CFO McBride clarified the request to use seized funds and to go to the LBB to ask to exceed the cap by $578,000.

Plus $1.325 Million for helicopter from seized funds, and the $227,200 for the holsters from the seized funds.

 

Motion for holsters passed unanimously.

 

Motion for helicopters by Clowe, Second by Barth.

 

Passed with 4 votes, with Comm. Steen voting no, with the explanation that he feels that the funds would be better used to secure the headquarter complex.

 

G.        Update Report, discussion and possible action regarding recruitment

Assistant Director Jesse White, Human Resources – update only, no vote required.  The short course will begin on May 16, and the long, 18 week course will begin in July.  We have 465 signed up for the long academy.  On Feb. 8 we went to Tulsa, OK, where they were having layoffs, and we will return to review applicants, and will interview.  Phoenix, AZ, is anticipating laying off 400 officers, and we will go there as well.

 

Reinstatements, we are only averaging 1 reinstatement per month.

 

Commissioner Brown asked about what recruiting materials are being added.  AD White mentioned table cloths, pull up

 

H.        Update report, discussion and possible action on 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of the Department from the Diamond Jubilee Committee

Barbara Hinesley – Asst. Counsel, Jubilee Committee Co-Chair – All 18 subcommittees are working diligently to meet deadlines.  Tele Mange of PIO is working on a media plan to make sure everyone is aware of what we are doing with the celebration.  The lapel version of the 75th badge will be available for purchase by non-commissioned personnel through the DPSOA store, and we will be linking our website to the DPSOA site.  The yearbook photos are being taken, and should be on schedule.  The regional programs are all progressing and have a deadline of 60 days out.  In answer to Comm. Brown’s question, the tour will be in Garland on July 27.

 

Comm. Steen offered to donate, and his donation challenge was going to be matched by Comm. Clowe and Chairman Steen.

VII.      REPORTS

  1. A.           Commission member reports and discussion

None

  1. B.           Finance Report

Cheryl McBride, Assistant Director of Finance (CFO) – Paula Logan has transferred from HR to Risk Management. Out of 273 buildings, 83 fire inspections have been completed, and 85 more have been scheduled.  We are working on a new accounting system, and should shorten reimbursements for travel vouchers from 30 days or more to about a week.  We are searching for a Grant Management software program, and are reviewing our issued credit cards (to see if all of them are necessary).

  1. C.           Audit & Inspection Report

None

D.        Division status reports on activities and action

Administration – Nothing to report

Criminal Investigation – Nothing to report

Drivers License – Michael Kelley, Asst. Dir. of Drivers License – in response to last meeting’s request regarding the metrics that is being used to track progress.  Mr. Kelley showed slides outlining the process and numbers. I will report back in May or June with updated information base

Emergency Management – Nothing to report

Government Relations – Nothing to report

Highway Patrol – Assistant Director, David Baker – Free Pass is submitting proposed locations for

Information Technology -– Nothing to report

Intelligence & Counter Terrorism – Nothing to report

Law Enforcement Support – Nothing to report

Office of Inspector General – Nothing to report

Regulatory & Licensing – Nothing to report

Texas Rangers – Nothing to report

 

 

VIII.      CONSENT ITEMS

The following items may be discussed and acted upon in a single motion or discussed

separately as determined by the Commission

A.        Discussion and possible action on appointments of Special Rangers and Special Texas

Rangers pursuant to Government Code chapter 411, Secs. 411.023 & 411.024:

Special Rangers Wayne Williams

B.        Discussion and possible action on adoption of proposed rules:

1.               Proposed amendment to Rule 27.1, 37 TAC 27.1, regarding review of personal criminal history record, as published in 34 TexReg 9108, December 18, 2009

2.               Proposed new Rules 28.171-28.175, 37 TAC 28.171-28.175, regarding preservation, cataloging, and delivery of biological evidence, as published in 34

TexReg 9382, December 25, 2009

Motion by Clowe to approve both Consent Items, Seconded by Barth

Passed unanimously

IX.      ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA

For April Agenda, Comm. Brown asked for:

Promotional Policies

28 Day Work Cycle

 

For April Meeting, Comm. Steen asked for:

Update on Drivers License times progress.

X.      DATE FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

March 23, 2010

 

XI.      ADJOURN

4:45 pm.

The Commission may take items out of the order in which they are posted on this agenda.

Also, an item that has been adopted, passed upon, delayed or tabled for a later meeting may be considered or reconsidered at the same meeting.

The Public Safety Commission may meet and discuss in Executive Session and have action taken in an Open Meeting where required on the following items:

Government Code Sec. 551.071 Consultation and deliberation with legal counsel about pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer, or on a matter where the Commissioners seek the advice of their attorney as privileged communications under the

Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas, and to discuss the Open Meetings Act and the Administrative Procedures Act with their attorney

Government Code Sec. 551.074 Appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of director, assistant director, and persons appointed to management team positions pursuant to Govt. Code Sec. 411.0071

Government Code Sec. 551.076 Deliberations about security audits, security devices, including deployment and implementation of security personnel and devices Government Code Chapter 411, Sec. 411.0041 Ongoing criminal investigations

Government Code Sec. 551.072  Deliberation of the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property, if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person

Government Code Sec. 551.073 Deliberation of a negotiated contract for a prospective gift or donation to the state or the governmental body if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person

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