DPSOA Public Safety Commission Meeting Summary – 07/17/2009: Steve McCraw Named New Director of DPS

DPSOA Members:

I was not able to attend today’s Public Safety Commission Meeting because I was attending the funeral of a good friend, Deputy Sheriff Shane Detwiler, who was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in Chambers County. Deputy Sheriff Detwiler spent 6 years as a State Game Warden where I had the opportunity to get to know him quite well.  Many of us responded to a call of an officer under fire where DPS Trooper Kevin Kelley, along with Deputy Sheriff Henry Tyson, heroically risked their life in a barrage of bullets to drag Deputy Sheriff Detwiler to cover.  Unfortunately, Deputy Sheriff Detwiler’s wounds proved fatal. 

I can’t tell you how proud I was of the showing of DPS Troopers at Deputy Sheriff Detwiler’s funeral today. Black and whites stood out in the funeral procession. It demonstrates to me, once again, why we serve.

I would like to thank DPSOA Vice President Gary Chandler and Board Member Chris Pratt for their personal time to attend the PSC Meeting today for our Association. They report that our new Director, Col. Steve McCraw, tells them that he feels that the strength of the Department lies with our people, and providing them with the direction and tools to do their jobs effectively will continue to improve our agency. Sgt. Chandler also congratulated Michael Kelley, the newly appointed Chief of the Drivers License Division, and was very impressed with Chief Kelley’s enthusiasm for his new challenge and his eagerness to continue working closely with the DPSOA for the good of the Department.  And finally, Gary welcomed the new Chief of IT, Brad Rable, who expressed an eagerness to work with DPSOA in relating to the Legislature the continuing need to improve IT at DPS. Chief Rable brings a strong background in both corporate and governmental experience to his new position.

I have asked our Executive Director, John Pike, to provide our Members with the summary below of today’s PSC Meeting.

Brian Hawthorne – DPSOA President

(This report represents a summary of events of the meeting,
 and is not necessarily complete nor an exact transcript of testimony. DPSOA’s coverage begins on day two, Friday, since Thursday’s Meeting was Executive Session to interview the top three Director candidates. )

Public Safety Commission Meeting
Thursday, July 16, 2009 10:30 a.m.
Directors Conference Room
5805 N. Lamar Blvd. Bldg A
Austin, TX 78773
Friday, July 17 2009, 10:30 a.m.
Criminal Law Enforcement Auditorium
6100 Guadalupe, Bldg E
Austin, TX 78752

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

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
Interview and deliberate regarding applicants for position of Department Director as authorized under Government Code 571.074

Reconvened on Friday, 7/17/2009 10:34 am: Chairman Polunsky called the meeting to order. In attendance: Chairman Alan Polunsky, Commissioners Tom Clowe, Carin Barth, Ada Brown, and John Steen. Also present were Interim Col. Lamar Beckworth, General Counsel Stuart Platt.  A quorum is present.

090717 PSC Meeting

Minutes were approved unanimously.

IV. PUBLIC COMMENT (members of the public wishing to address the Commission are subject to a time limit of 5 minutes)

Scott Henson, Austin, author of weblog “Grits for Breakfast”.  Mr. Henson clarified the Sunset mandate of the Drive Responsibility Program to implement the indigence program by Sept 1, 2009, not when the full program goes into place in 2011. Next week we will submit a petition asking the Commission to implement the indigence portion of the Drive responsibility program. He was proposing solutions to collecting civil surcharges for offences (that are on top of fines). Comm. Brown addressed his issues from her perspective as a County Judge, and Chair Polunski thanked him to bring this to the Commissions attention. He added that the Commission will add this issue to the August PSC agenda.

BC Lyon, Austin – came to make a pitch for the DPS Museum.  The Museum would like to be included in any issues involving the 75th Anniversary celebrations.  Chair Polunsky said that they would be very inclusive in the planning.


A. Discussion and possible action to acknowledge individuals who have served the Department in the 81st Legislative Session

Commissioner Clowe presented Chairman Polunsky a plaque with a photo of Chair Polunsky dressed in a

Chairman Polunsky & Comm. Clowe

Chairman Polunsky & Comm. Clowe

 “Robbie Knievel” suit in front of the capitol that he and the other Commissioners had mocked up, thanking him for his tireless work at the Capitol this legislative session.

B. Discussion and possible action regarding search for a Division Chief for the Driver License Division, interview processes for this position, status report on the search, and possible action regarding management position candidates

Col. Beckworth said that there was nothing to report at this time, and he would like to table the issue at the next PSC meeting.  Chair Polunsky asked Commissioners Clowe and Barth to assist.

C. Review of pending Contracts:

1. Official Prescription Forms Production and Distribution
2. Electronic Prescription Transmission System $570,000
3. Texas Highway Patrol Information Systems Renewal cost $800,000

Chief Ybarra – Finance – provided a brief update on costs.

E. Discussion and possible action to celebrate DPS 75th Anniversary

Chairman Polunsky asked to assemble a committee to work on putting together a Jubilee Celebration for the 75th Anniversary of DPS.  I would like the committee to include all interested/related groups. Comm. Clowe agreed and suggested a challenge coin and planning a 2 or more day event. Dorothy Wright (col sec) may be the appropriate person to contact if you are interested in participating on such a committee.  By the August PSC meeting I hope to have some more concrete plans for the celebration.


A. Reports, discussion, deliberation and possible action regarding the following:

1. Procurement of a project management contract to implement organizational changes and planning regarding the development and administration of the project management plan for reorganization

Comm. Clowe – we are communicating with a Deloitte representative to designate a date, tentatively August 9.  Comm. Clowe stated that he would be in Argentina on that date.  Chairman Polunsky suggested that with the likely naming of a new Director today, he would like to include the new director in setting that date.

2. Discussion and possible action to implement organizational changes and possible next steps in planning to develop and administer a project management plan and project management office for reorganization of the Department

Covered under item 1 (new Director involvement)

3. Executive search firm services for executive director and management positions, interview processes for those positions, status report on the search, and possible action regarding the employment of management position candidates to include the Director of the Department

Chairman Polunsky stated that they have come to a decision on the Director and would be announcing it later in this meeting.

Comm. Barth said that the outside search firm would open the search for Inspector General process up to candidates inside and outside of the department.

4. Implementation of Driver License Reengineering, New Driver License System, and options regarding implementation

Chief Michael Kelley – Drivers License Division – Chief Greg Rable – IT Division – We have been working with Comm. Barth on the rollout.  We are insuring that the rollout schedule is not so aggressive to jeopardize the entire project.  We have been working on training and review. So far, 7 offices have been rolled out. We are currently not achieving the quality and efficiency that we had hoped.  Asst. Chief Greg Gloria addressed Comm. Barth’s questions regarding if the Division is addressing the fundamental customer service goals that they are hoping for, and are we collecting data to be able to establish metrics to continuing to improve the system.  We are currently running about 7 minutes longer per transaction with the new system than with the old system…partially due to the learning curve. Currently we are not accepting credit cards, but we will be soon.

Comm. Steen – Chief Kelley – what are your three biggest challenges that you have identified after a week on your new job.

1. Get the right people in the right places.  We have the talent.
2. The number of personnel – how many can we move through attrition into the field
3. Making sure that the individual in the field are the priority – we at headquarters work for them

It was pointed out that DPS has more DL offices than any other state (over 300 as opposed to 50 or so), and Comm. Steen suggested that closing some of the offices might be an area of cost savings.

Chair Polunsky agreed with Comm. Steen and asked Chief Kelley to do an analysis of the DL offices across the street.

Comm. Clowe thanked Chiefs Kelley and Gloria for their work and attitude, and that he felt #3, working with the individual workers in DL is most important and he wanted the DL personnel to know that the Commission appreciates the good work that they are doing and their hard work.

B. Update, discussion and possible action regarding the recruitment policy committee

Comm. Brown – for the past few months I have been meeting with Troopers across the state and gathering ideas of how to recruit the best and the brightest, and I have worked with Chief Paula Logan and Chief Ybarra and would like to lay out recommendations at the next PSC Meeting.

C. Discussion and possible action on year-end repair and rehabilitation projects

Asst. Chief Fulenwider, Administration – we have identified funding for some of these projects, and are working to identify other funding sources.

D. Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding the Drivers License Division-Driver Responsibility-Vendor Management HQ-08-37, September 2008

Interim Chief Michael Kelley – Drivers License Division – with the help of staff discussed working with the contractor to make changes within the statute, and identified other changes that would require statutory changes with Legislative approval.

Chair Polunsky stated that he was not pleased that the renewal of the contract was not brought to the Commissions attention.

Representative from MSB (collection contractor) addressed the Commissions questions. MSB receives 4% of collected funds.

The Commission asked DPS General Counsel Stuart Platt to review the contract.  This was signed prior to the Commission setting the rule mandating Commission review of large contracts, and was renewed for 5 years.  The Commission grilled the vendor for lack of providing backup data for their presentation. 

The Commission was adding this issue to the August PSC meeting agenda after additional review of the contract and subsequent data. There were concerns raised regarding use of the DPS letterhead for the vendor’s collections.

Chief Kelly and Counsel Steen said that they will provide additional information to the Commission prior to the next meeting and would like to include the indigent element as promised to Rep. Hinajosa during the Sunset Process.

E. Discussion and possible action regarding the Sunset Review recommendations and other legislation affecting the Department and the Public Safety Commission

Janie Smith – Legislative Liaison – I’ve provided the final report of the Sunset Advisory Commission.  Pages 4a-4c include the summary of recommendations (available on the Sunset website or through the DPS website).  We tracked 1102 pieces of legislation and 171 passed to enrollment, 5 were vetoed by the Governor.

F. Update report, discussion and possible action on transformation of the administration of the Driver License Division to a civilian model

Chief Michael Kelley – Drivers License Division – Ron Coleman – We are moving forward, all still on track.

G. Discussion and possible action regarding security measures for Department

Valarie Fulmer – Administration – We have consulted with Department of Homeland Security.  Much of our focus is on the parking.  We have lost more than 100 spaces due to construction on campus.  Comm. Steen suggested that there was a lot of study and little action.  More would be discussed in Executive Session.

H. Discussion and possible action regarding the procurement of an information management intrusion detection system.

Chief Brad Rable – Information Management – two week and 4 days on the job and working to meet challenges.

(Out of Sequence) 

D. Discussion and possible action to fill position of Department Director

1:17 pm – Chair Polunsky returned to this item.  Three finalists were interviewed at length yesterday. This will be the single most important decision that this Commission makes during our term.

Comm. Clowe discussed the selection process. Korn-Ferry was paid $125,000 for consulting services and search for the Director and did a fine job. We had a number of very fine candidates that wanted this job.  We had a great disadvantage in that the salary is capped at $157,000 per year.  I hope we can rectify this problem down the road because it is woefully underfunded.

Comm. Steen began by thanking Col. Beckworth for the excellent job that he did as Interim Director (Col. Beckworth received a rousing standing ovation).

Chris Pratt, Steve McCraw, Gary Chandler

Chris Pratt, Steve McCraw, Gary Chandler

The motion was seconded by Comm. Clowe.

Passed unanimously.

Comm. Steen made the motion with a conditional offer to Steve McCraw as the permanent Director. He is impressive as visionary and passionate about law enforcement.  McCraw, 55, spent 6 years with the DPS on the front line, beginning as a HP Trooper in Canyon, Texas, in 1977.  He has worked narcotics as well.  He left DPS in 1983 to go to work for the FBI as a Special Agent in Dallas.  In 1992 he moved to the FBI HQ.  His resume is extensive.  In 2004, Steve McCraw moved to the Governor’s Office as the Texas Director of Homeland Security.

 VI. 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
Interview and deliberations regarding applicants for position of Department Director as authorized under Government Code 571.074
Adjourn to Executive Session: 1:30 pm

Reconvene: 3:00 pm
Chairman Polunsky excused himself from the meeting and asked Comm. Barth to chair the meeting.


A. Commission member reports and discussion


B. Budget Matters

Oscar Ybarra – Chief of Finance – Regarding getting Federal reimbursement for facilities damaged during Hurricane Ike, it appears that we may be eligible and we will pursue it.

C. Audit & Inspection Report

Farrel Walker, Chief of Audit and Inspection – your have my report, and you should be getting three major reports in August, and I hope to have an audit report plan to give at the August meeting as well.

D. Division status reports on activities and action taken

Chief Fulmer – Concealed Handgun Licenses. We have 64 temporaries working currently and the project is on schedule. Approximately 159,000 CHLs issued for 2009.

Chief Tom Ruocco – CLE – You have my report. 

Chief Kelley – Drivers License Division – Nothing additional to report.

Chief Jack Colley – Division of Emergency Management – We are in a critical wildfire situation over most north, east, central, and south Texas. H1N1 – Flu virus continues to be a concern, particularly for the fall back to school period. We currently have 125 counties showing the flu.

Comm. Barth asked Chief Colley to come back to the August meeting with a guideline for at what point do we shut down school systems.  She also asked for getting permanent backup generators for the facilities.

Chief David Baker – You have my report.  Our crash activity report shows that the numbers continue to decline.

June 26, a murder in Hopkins Co. and a radio notice went out and 5 troopers arrived at a location as the suspect was leaving.  The suspect responded with a high powered weapon and was shot and killed by one of the Troopers.

Chief Baker also reported about the death of Deputy Sheriff Shane Detwiler in Chambers County who was shot and killed while answering a domestic dispute call. DPS troopers responded, retrieving the Deputy Sheriff. The perpetrator retreated to the house where he eventually killed himself. DPSOA President was on the scene much of the day, and had known Deputy Sheriff Detwiler for many years that he served as a Game Warden in Chambers County.

Chief Tony Leal – Texas Rangers – We have cleared 4-5 routine murders. We have cleared another case that we have been working since 2005.

Chief Brad Rable – Information Technology – Brian Laine, Asst. Chief joined to answer questions.


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: Paul T. Hopson, Arvel P. Shepard, Teddie D. Williamson
B. Discussion and possible action on adoption of proposed rules:

1. Proposed amendments to Rule 1.4, 37 TAC Sec. 1.4, regarding Programs under Texas Highway Patrol Division, as published in 34 TexReg 2749, May 8, 2009
2. Proposed amendments to Rule 1.58, 37 TAC Sec. 1.58, regarding Release of Information on Crash Victims, as published in 34 TexReg 2750, May 8, 2009
3. Proposed amendments to Rule 1.129, 37 TAC Sec. 1.129, regarding Fees for Sale of Motor Vehicle Crash Reports in Highway Patrol Field Offices, as published in 34 TexReg 2751, May 8, 2009
4. Proposed repeal of Rules 1.281-1.285, 37 TAC Secs. 1.281-1.285, regarding Senate Bill 1074 Video Units, as published in 34 TexReg 2751, May 8, 2009
5. Proposed amendments to Rule 14.52, 37 TAC Sec. 14.52, regarding Texas School Bus Specifications, as published in 34 TexReg 2752, May 8, 2009

F. Discussion and possible action on proposed rules for publication:

1. Proposed amendments to Chapter 15: Rules 15.5, 15.7, 15.21-15.23, 15.25-15.31, 15.33-15.40, 15.42, 15.44, 15.48, 15.52, 15.54, 15.56, 15.59, 15.81-15.83, 15.85, 15.87, 15.91-15.93, 15.101, 15.113, 15.114, 15.131, and 15.163, 37 TAC Secs.15.5, 15.7, 15.21-15.23, 15.25-15.31, 15.33-15.40, 15.42, 15.44, 15.48, 15.52, 15.54, 15.56, 15.59, 15.81-15.83, 15.85, 15.87, 15.91-15.93, 15.101, 15.113, 15.114, 15.131, and 15.163, regarding Driver License Rules
2. Proposed repeal of Rule 15.8, 37 TAC Sec. 15.8, regarding Classified Driver License
3. Proposed repeal of Rules 15.41 and 15.47, 37 TAC Secs. 15.41 and 15.47, regarding Application Requirements-Original, Renewal, Duplicate, Identification Certificates
4. Proposed repeal of Rules 15.111 and 15.112, 37 TAC Secs. 15.111 and 15.112, regarding Denial of Renewal of Driver License for Failure to Appear for Traffic Violation
5. Proposed amendments to Chapter 16: Rules 16.3, 16.4, 16.8, 16.9, 16.11, 16.12, 16.34, 16.47, 16.48, 16.50, 16.51, 16.71-16.73, 16.75, and 16.103-16.105, 37 TAC Secs.16.3, 16.4, 16.8, 16.9, 16.11, 16.12, 16.34, 16.47, 16.48, 16.50, 16.51, 16.71-16.73, 16.75, and 16.103-16.105, regarding Commercial Driver License
6. Proposed repeal of Rule 16.91, 37 TAC Sec. 16.91, regarding Noncommercial Motor Vehicle Permits
7. Proposed amendments to Chapter 18: Rules 18.1-18.4 and 18.21-18.25, 37 TAC Secs. 18.1-18.4 and 18.21-18.25, regarding Driver Education

Comm. Steen asked if Col. Beckworth if he can assure the Commission that all of the above issues deserve a favorable vote.  Col. Beckworth made that assurance.

Motion was made and seconded to approve all of the above items.

Passed unanimously, with Chairman Polunsky absent.


Three agenda items were recommended.
Comm. Steen asked Chairman Polunsky to return, and asked that at future PSC Meetings, that only the Commission would be seated at the head table, and have the Director and others seated at a table across from the Counsel’s table.  We will also move public comment to the end of the meeting agendas.


Comm. Clowe will be out of town on August 20, so the next PSC Meeting will be scheduled for Friday, August 21, 2009.

Comm. Barth again thanked Col. Beckworth for the fine job that he has done in the interim, and Chairman Polunsky stated that Col. Beckworth is a pillar of the Department.  He went on to say that if Col. Beckworth had been interested in the Director position on a permanent basis, he would have been well suited for the position.  He stated that Col. Beckworth is a great roll model for young Troopers to emulate, and that he hopes that he will continue to contribute to the leadership of the Department for some time to come.


Adjourn: 3:40 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.


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