Any Other Officers in here ticked off at the Legislators for passing yet ANOTHER vague law?
I've been told I can't work any more traffic jobs until they " figure it out ".
So much for my holiday cash this year.
By Tom Gaylor, Deputy Executive
Highway Construction Extra Jobs
The 80th Texas Legislature passed SB 11 related to
Homeland Security. Language in the bills defines
the term �police vehicle� in the Transportation
Code and may prohibit officers from using privately
owned vehicles to guard highway construction
zones or do police escorts.
Section 4.06 of the bill amends Texas
Transportation Code 541.201 under the definitions
of an authorized emergency vehicle. The amendment
defines the term, �Police Vehicle�.
(13-a) �Police vehicle� means a vehicle of a
governmental entity primarily used by a peace
officer, as defined by Article 2.12, Code of
Criminal Procedure, for law enforcement purposes.
A common language reading of this amendment
indicates that a police vehicle must a vehicle �of�
or owned by a governmental entity. That would
limit police vehicles to any vehicle, regardless of
markings, that is owned or leased or rented by a
governmental entity and that is primarily used by a
peace officer for law enforcement purposes. That
definition does not appear to extend to privately
owned vehicles even if they are marked and
equipped with emergency lighting.
In fact, Section 547.305 of the Transportation Code
prohibits vehicles not considered �police vehicles�
from having either a red light visible from the front
center of the car or alternating lights of any color.
Section 547.702 of the Transportation Code provides
an exception for privately owned vehicles operated by
volunteer firefighters responding to an emergency,
but not for privately owned vehicle used by police.
In addition, unless the vehicle complies with the
new definition of �Authorized Emergency Vehicle�
the operator is not permitted to park or stand in
violation of other transportation statutes and the
vehicle should not be used to direct motorists
around or away from potential hazards or conduct
police escorts (TTC 546.002).
Nothing 'vague' about it. It seems pretty cut and dried. If it ain't owned by a city, ect., then you can't put lights on it and you certainly cannot call it a police vehicle. that means, to me, anyways, if you try to pull someone over or direct traffic or whatever in such a vehicle, then you are in violation of the law.
I believe it's vague, and prevents Constables from working as they don't own city/state/government vehicles either.
It's nice the state thinks Volunteer firemen should be able to do what they want but the police trying to make a living cant. Nice.
So how cut and dried is it to you now? Even the bill author disagrees with you.
H.B. 2076 80(R)
Committee Report (Unamended)
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
In the Transportation Code (541.201)(a), "authorized emergency vehicles" are currently defined
as fire department or police vehicles. The question of what defines a police vehicle is left
unclear. Some former or off-duty police officers around the state have been altering their own
personal vehicles with lights or other markers that should be reserved for an authorized
This bill clarifies that a law enforcement vehicle must be authorized by the appropriate law
enforcement authority for use by a person described by Article 2.12 of the Code of Criminal
It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking
authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution.
Section 1. House Bill 2076 amends the Transportation Code by adding language in Section
541.201(1) that states that an "authorized emergency vehicle" means a law enforcement vehicle
authorized by the appropriate law enforcement authority for use by a person described by Article
2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure.
Upon passage, or, if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September
Looks to me like the language from HB2076 "authorized by a law enforcement agency" is different from the language of SB11 "of a law enforcement agency." Looks like another case of unfortunate drafting.
I started talking about this two years ago and none of the police associations thought this would be a problem and now, here we are. I do not personally work these types of jobs, but my troops do. I believe that his is an easy fix with the addition of this to 547.702:
(g) No vehicle, other than a police vehicle or a vehicle operated by a regular peace officer, may be equipped with blue auxiliary lighting.
(h) in this section "regular peace officer" means a peace officer who:
(A) is employed full-time by the state or a political subdivision of the state; and
(B) is not a reserve peace officer; and
(C) works as a peace officer on the average of at least 32 hours a week, is compensated by the state or a political subdivision of the state at least at the minimum wage, and is entitled to all employee benefits offered to a peace officer by the state or
Is anyone listening now?
I too think there has to be a workaround, as our county gives us (DA Investigators) car allowances, and therefore we do have visor lights, etc in our pov's for the rare occasions) when we are needed to quickly respond to a scene; as it stands I guess we are operating in violation, yet I don't see us changing anything.
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