DPSOA Summary of the Public Safety Commision Meeting, September 17, 2009

DPSOA Members:

I was not able to attend today’s Public Safety Commission Meeting today.  I asked DPSOA’s Executive Director, John Pike, to prepare a summary of the meeting.  A few of the items of interest include:

  • – Director McCraw identifies some funding and asks the Commission for additional funding for Tactical Body Armor, Ballistic Helmets, Tactical Light and Rail System, Tasers, and Utility Uniforms.
    – Approved Asst. Director David Baker’s recommendation to extend the hardship duty station stipend from two years to the extent of their service at that duty station. The PSC also approved allowing the option of a monthly payment of the stipend rather than the one time yearly payment.
    – The PSC approved Asst. Dir. Kelley’s proposed change to the Driver Responsibility Program with regards to indigent and amnesty programs.
    – The new Asst. Director for Licensing and Regulatory, John Jones, and the new Asst. Dir. For Office of Intelligence & Counter Terrorism, Fred Burton, were introduced and gave reports. Also, Captain Henry “Hank” Whitman , the new Interim Inspector General gave his first report.
    – New Regional Commanders were named and approved by the PSC.
    – Brad Rable was promoted to the new position of Deputy Director of Services, with a new Asst. Dir. of IT to be named later.

The full summary is available below. 

Brian Hawthorne,
DPS Officers Association


Public Safety Commission Meeting
Thursday, September 17, 2009, 10:30 a.m.
Criminal Law Enforcement Auditorium
6100 Guadalupe, Bldg E
Austin, TX 78752

(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, if necessary, on the following agenda items:


10:45 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 Dir. Steve McCraw, Dep. Dir. Lamar Beckworth, General Counsel Stuart Platt.  A quorum is present.


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)



Director Steve McCraw listed a priority list totaling $6,162,473.00, including Tactical Body Armor, Ballistic Helmets, Tactical Light and Rail System, Tasers, and Utility Uniforms. They have identified funding sources in the amount of $3,320,987, including Federal seized funds, re-appropriated Earned Fed. Funds, leaving $2,841,486 still in need of funding.

Regarding the Strategic Plan, we are setting assessment points to look at over the next 3-5 years. The Chief of Staff will be involved in assessing these defined metrics. Comm. Barth asked what was authorized by the Legislature for cars.  Dir. McCraw and Deputy Director Beckworth answered $60,000 per vehicle, which is $43,000 per vehicle fully equipped, plus additional funding for operating and maintenance expenses.  All cars will have in car video systems.

Comm. Barth asked what else the Fed. seized funds be used for? 

Dir. McCraw answered that as long as they are used for “Law Enforcement” purposes.  As far as salaries are concerned, the funds may only be used for entry level salaries.

Chair Polunsky clarified that nothing is being sacrificed to move these priorities forward.

Comm. Clowe asked Dir. McCraw questions regarding the tactical body armor (25 pounds that could save a life in a shooting situation), the ballistic helmets, and the tasers.  He mentioned concerns about possible over use. Dir. McCraw said that he feels strongly that the tasers enhance trooper safety and will save lives without the use of deadly force.  The cost of the tasers ($2,760,148.00) does not include the training component.  Dep. Dir. Beckworth stated that they have already developed training and understand the importance of proper instruction. Comm. Clowe asked about the weight of the tasers since the troopers will be carrying these on their belts.  The Colonels didn’t have that answer.

Comm. Clowe asked about alternative utility uniforms, and asked about the T-shirts with police on them.  The cost ($584,648.00) will provide two utility uniforms per trooper.

Comm. Clowe asked Dir. McCraw exactly what his “ask” to the Legislative Budget Board will be.  Dir. McCraw said he would simply state what they would like to do and if they had any objections to moving forward with this.

Since this was not on the agenda for today’s meeting, the Commission could not vote on the recommendations, but asked Dir. McCraw to add it to the next meeting’s agenda and they would likely have a favorable vote.

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

Comm. Brown said that she hopes to have recommendations by Sept. 24.

B. Discussion and possible action regarding the overtime and compensatory time policies for Department employees

Comm. Brown asked to move this item to the November agenda; nothing to report at this time.

C. Discussion and possible action with regards to Executive Management Team Salaries

Deferred until after the Executive Session.
Post- Exec. Session:
Motion for Chair to work with the Director to develop the salaries of the Executive Management Team. Motion passes 4-0, with Comm. Brown absent.

D. Discussion and possible action regarding hardship duty stations

Dir. McCraw stated that this stems from feedback from the field in hard to fill duty stations.  Asst. Director Baker – The 77th Legislature in 2001 authorized a stipend of $2400 per year for the first two years for 25 (later moved to 40) hardship duty stations.  Currently we have identified and put in place 37 of these stations, and we pay a one-time stipend of $2400, pro-rated over the time they were there.  We have recommended changing this to a monthly stipend, and not limiting it to the first two years, since the hardship continues beyond those first two years. Asst. Dir. Baker listed the 37 for the Commission. 

Comm. Barth said that she feels this should be a budgeted item.  She agreed with the need and the monthly payment, but feels that we need to look at it from a fiscally responsible budget point of view.  Dir. McCraw suggested that there is a cost savings in not relocating and replacing troopers in these hardship areas.  Chairman Polunsky also pointed out that troopers’ spouses have a more difficult time finding employment in these hardship areas. Dir. McCraw also pointed out that the secondary employment opportunities are not in these areas as well.

Comm. Steen made a motion to approve the recommendation and seconded by Comm. Clowe.
Passed unanimously.

E. Discussion and possible action regarding Proposal for Executive/Officer Insurance renewal

Counsel Stuart Platt asked to defer the discussion until after the Executive Session.
Post Executive Session – Motion not to renew the E&O policy by Comm. Clowe.
Motion passes 4-0, with Comm. Brown absent.

F. Consideration and discussion of departmental procurement process

General Counsel Stuart Platt and Asst. Dir. Brad Rable (IT). Asst. Dir. Rable – we are looking at a much more robust procurement plan that looks further to the future.  We are trying to plan for future needs, contingencies for software company buyouts, renewal and update triggers, etc.  We are drawing up this model for IT now, but expect to use this same type of plan for all procurement areas.  Chair Polunsky asked why Asst. Chief Fulmer is not speaking on this since procurement falls under Administration.  Dir. McCraw said that he assigned Platt and Rable to this task.  Rable stated that this has been a collaborative process including Asst. Dir. Fulmer.  Chair Polunsky asked Fulmer to come forward.  Asst. Dir. Fulmer stated that she has been included and looks forward to a unified system.

Gen. Counsel Platt stated that this plan is a better use of state resources and stewardship. We anticipate setting up a Contract Review Board (CRB).  We recommend lowering the threshold, allowing us to review more vendors’ contracts.  Our goal is to have this plan in place by December of 2010.  The CRB Members will consist of Decision Makers, Staff, and Governance Representative (from the Commission) to sit in on the CRB.  Initial Tasks include developing review criteria, leveraging software for monitoring, identifying scope of control, defining roles for members, review of all active contracts, and after action feedback.

The challenges to this new Procurement Plan include avoiding bottleneck effects, physical process of meeting the CRB, emergency procurements, effective communication strategy (PSC, DPS, public), and protecting state competitive position.  We are asking the Board for assistance in opening these lines of communications especially with regards to emergency procurement.  Platt also asked that some contract discussions be held in Executive Session to maintain a competitive edge in contracting.

1. Commission Member be named to the CRB with an alternate designated
2. A provision to facilitate emergency procurement subsequent to PSC review at the earliest opportunity.
I will ask for action on these requests at the next PSC agenda.
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

Adjourn to Executive Session at 11:55 am.
Reconvene Session at 3:15 pm.

       Reports, discussion, deliberation and possible action regarding the following:
A.    Update report, discussion and possible action on Physical Readiness Test

August 25, Dir. McCraw and Dep. Dir. Beckworth met and adjusted the PRT implementing a body fat index and will be meeting with the Committee to look into addressing gender and age adjustment issues.  No action was requested or granted.

B. Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding the Drivers License Division-Driver Responsibility Program

Asst. Director Michael Kelley – Drivers License Division – Findings on the proposed rule suggest changes to the surcharge program. We are looking for a truly good indigent and amnesty program without drastically affecting our revenues as projected by the Comptroller’s Office.

Recommended one time surcharges (replaces 3 annual surcharges):
DWI – $500
No Insurance/DWLI – $250
No DL – $150

16.3% of Texans are at or below the Federal poverty level.
Revenue loss/gain estimated at $2 million during the 2010-2011 biennium.

Counsel Platt suggested motion language for a request for change in the surcharge program as recommended by Asst. Dir. Kelley, modifying two prior motions by Comm. Clowe.
Motion passed unanimously.

C.    Discussion and possible action regarding security measures for  Department 

Asst. Dir. Fulmer – I have nothing for the open session.  Will be happy to answer questions.

D.    Update report and possible action on 75th “Diamond Jubilee” Anniversary of the Department

Chair Polunsky – Appointed a Committee to plan the Diamond Jubilee – Barbara Hensley will Chair the Committee. Also appointed, Dept. Director Beckworth to Co-Chair.  Asked Comm. Clowe to serve on the Committee and asked that they add other Committee Members.  Chair Polunsky invissions a series of celebrations across the state to celebrate the momentous occasion.  August 10 is the actual 75th Anniversary.
A. Commission member reports and discussion

No Commission Reports.

B. Budget Matters

Dir. McCraw – we currently have a provisionary budget, and hope to have a budget for approval at the next Commission Meeting.

C. Audit & Inspection Report

Nothing to ad to the Commission Report.

D. Division status reports on activities and action
1. Follow-up status of Concealed Handgun License applications

John Jones, new Asst. Director for Licensing and Regulatory. – We are working through the backlog and will begin contacting individuals who have submitted incomplete applications.

2. Status report from Office of Inspector General

Captain Henry “Hank” Whitman – Interim Inspector General – Came on Sept. 3rd. Working ideas which will help the new Inspector General when he comes on board. We are trying to set standards for discipline that will bring about consistency across the state. We would like to implement the ethics hotline as soon as possible.  There are about 16 vendors that offer this type of program ranging from $13,000 to $100,000 for reporting abuse and fraud.  TxDOT has such a system in place and we will meet with them.

We are looking into programs to help us to track all of these issues, and to help us go paperless.  I am looking at several of these, but they also come at a price.

3. Status report from Office of Intelligence & Counter Terrorism

New Asst. Director Fred Burton  –  (first PSC Meeting) Currently evaluating Capitol Complex and Headquarters and assessing international gang threats.

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 the Director’s action of discharging probationary employee:  Anthony Morales (Tx Gov Code 551.074) 

No discussion. Motion by Clowe, 2nd by Barth. Passed unanimously.

B.    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 – Steven  E. Davis, Francisco Elizondo, Jr., Mario C. Escobedo, Reginald B. Fields, George Olivo, Martin C. Santiago,  Estella Valenzuela; Special Texas Rangers –  Charles R. Brune and National Insurance Crime Bureau – Juan J. Aguilar

Comm. Brown read through the names and made the motion to approve. 2nd by Clowe.
Approved unanimously.

Comm. Steen asked Dir. McCraw to report back to the Commission regarding the history and meaning of these types of appointments.

C.    Advice and consent by the Commission regarding appointment of deputy directors, assistant directors, and   heads of divisions and bureaus pursuant to Government Code chapter 411, Secs. 411.005, 411.006 and 411.0071

Motion by Comm. Clowe and 2nd by Barth.
Regional Commanders:

Billy Fulton – Lubbock
Skyler Hern – El Paso
Jack Weston – Dallas
LC Wilson – Houston
Jose Rodriguez – McAllen
Louis Gonzales – San Antonio

Deputy Director of Services – Brad Rable

Passed unanimously

We will leave the Asst. Dir. of IT open for the time-being. We will recommend Mark Doggett to be Asst. Director of IT at the next PSC meeting.

D.    Contracts for review by Commission
1. Review of signed contract renewal for forensic DNA kits

Moved and 2nd.  Passed unanimously.

E.    Discussion and possible action on adoption of proposed rule:
1. Proposed amendments to Rule 28.93, 37 TAC Sec. 28.93, regarding Policy, Procedure and Rule Compliance for DNA laboratories, as published in 34 TexReg 4626, July 10, 2009

Moved and 2nd. Passed unanimously.

F.  Discussion and possible action on proposed rules for publication:
1. Proposed amendment to Rule 14.52, 37 TAC Sec. 14.52, regarding Texas School        Bus Specifications

Moved and 2nd. Passed unanimously.

2. Proposed amendments to Rule 27.121, 37 TAC Sec. 27.121, regarding Sexual Assault Reporting

Moved and 2nd. Passed unanimously.


Comm. Clowe – update and report on Diamond Jubilee celebration for every meeting going forward until the celebration.
Comm. Barth made an inaudible request.


October 15, 2009 will be the next meeting.


Adjourn: 4:10 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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