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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 2.12 Who are Peace Officer

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law


Before I became a lawyer and worked as a prosecutor I didn't understand how many law enforcement agencies there really were. I did not fully understand the differences between the various law enforcement agencies either. I soon came to learn that there were Sheriffs deputies, Police officers, Constable Deputies, State Troopers, Game Wardens, and Fire Marshalls. There's more then that but suffice to say there are a lot of different government agencies that can authorize their officers to carry a gun and make arrests. Collectively they are referred to as Peace Officers and they are listed under Article 2.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. It has been amended maybe more than any other statute so that they can include various new specific agencies. For Example investigators commissioned by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and the fire marshal and any related officers, inspectors, or investigators commissioned by a county under Subchapter B, Chapter 352, Local Government Code are listed as peace officer.


Lets now take a look at some of the differences between various types of peace officers.


Sheriffs are elected officials who are responsible for maintaining peace and enforcing laws within their respective counties. They also operate the county jail and are responsible for the service of legal process. Constables are also elected officials, but they work within specific precincts within a county. They also have similar duties as sheriffs, but their jurisdiction is generally limited to their precinct.

Marshals are typically appointed officials who are responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining peace within municipalities. They often have jurisdiction within a specific city or town.


Police officers are typically employed by municipalities or other governmental entities and are responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining peace within their jurisdiction. They have similar duties as marshals but the jurisdiction is different.


Game wardens are responsible for enforcing laws related to wildlife and fish and game regulation within their jurisdiction. They are employed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


Art. 2.12. WHO ARE PEACE OFFICERS. The following are peace officers: (1) sheriffs, their deputies, and those reserve deputies who hold a permanent peace officer license issued under Chapter 1701, Occupations Code; (2) constables, deputy constables, and those reserve deputy constables who hold a permanent peace officer license issued under Chapter 1701, Occupations Code; (3) marshals or police officers of an incorporated city, town, or village, and those reserve municipal police officers who hold a permanent peace officer license issued under Chapter 1701, Occupations Code; (4) rangers, officers, and members of the reserve officer corps commissioned by the Public Safety Commission and the Director of the Department of Public Safety; (5) investigators of the district attorneys', criminal district attorneys', and county attorneys' offices; (6) law enforcement agents of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; (7) each member of an arson investigating unit commissioned by a city, a county, or the state; (8) officers commissioned under Section 37.081, Education Code, or Subchapter E, Chapter 51, Education Code; (9) officers commissioned by the General Services Commission; (10) law enforcement officers commissioned by the Parks and Wildlife Commission; (11) officers commissioned under Chapter 23, Transportation Code; (12) municipal park and recreational patrolmen and security officers; (13) security officers and investigators commissioned as peace officers by the comptroller; (14) officers commissioned by a water control and improvement district under Section 49.216, Water Code; (15) officers commissioned by a board of trustees under Chapter 54, Transportation Code; (16) investigators commissioned by the Texas Medical Board; (17) officers commissioned by: (A) the board of managers of the Dallas County Hospital District, the Tarrant County Hospital District, the Bexar County Hospital District, or the El Paso County Hospital District under Section 281.057, Health and Safety Code; (B) the board of directors of the Ector County Hospital District under Section 1024.117, Special District Local Laws Code; (C) the board of directors of the Midland County Hospital District of Midland County, Texas, under Section 1061.121, Special District Local Laws Code; and (D) the board of hospital managers of the Lubbock County Hospital District of Lubbock County, Texas, under Section 1053.113, Special District Local Laws Code; (18) county park rangers commissioned under Subchapter E, Chapter 351, Local Government Code; (19) investigators employed by the Texas Racing Commission; (20) officers commissioned under Chapter 554, Occupations Code; (21) officers commissioned by the governing body of a metropolitan rapid transit authority under Section 451.108, Transportation Code, or by a regional transportation authority under Section 452.110, Transportation Code; (22) investigators commissioned by the attorney general under Section 402.009, Government Code; (23) security officers and investigators commissioned as peace officers under Chapter 466, Government Code; (24) officers appointed by an appellate court under Subchapter F, Chapter 53, Government Code; (25) officers commissioned by the state fire marshal under Chapter 417, Government Code; (26) an investigator commissioned by the commissioner of insurance under Section 701.104, Insurance Code; (27) apprehension specialists and inspectors general commissioned by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department as officers under Sections 242.102 and 243.052, Human Resources Code; (28) officers appointed by the inspector general of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice under Section 493.019, Government Code; (29) investigators commissioned by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement under Section 1701.160, Occupations Code; (30) commission investigators commissioned by the Texas Private Security Board under Section 1702.061, Occupations Code; (31) the fire marshal and any officers, inspectors, or investigators commissioned by an emergency services district under Chapter 775, Health and Safety Code; (32) officers commissioned by the State Board of Dental Examiners under Section 254.013, Occupations Code, subject to the limitations imposed by that section; (33) investigators commissioned by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department as officers under Section 221.011, Human Resources Code; and (34) the fire marshal and any related officers, inspectors, or investigators commissioned by a county under Subchapter B, Chapter 352, Local Government Code. Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722. Amended by Acts 1967, 60th Leg., p. 1734, ch. 659, Sec. 5, eff. Aug. 28, 1967; Acts 1971, 62nd Leg., p. 1116, ch. 246, Sec. 3, eff. May 17, 1971; Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 9, ch. 7, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 27, 1973; Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 1259, ch. 459, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 27, 1973; Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 480, ch. 204, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 618, ch. 227, Sec. 2, eff. May 24, 1977; Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 1082, ch. 396, Sec.1, eff. Aug. 29, 1977. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 545, ch. 114, Sec. 1, eff. May 17, 1983; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4358, ch. 699, Sec. 11, eff. June 19, 1983; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4901, ch. 867, Sec. 2, eff. June 19, 1983; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 5303, ch. 974, Sec. 11, eff. Aug. 29, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 384, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 26, 1985; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 907, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1986, 69th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 19, Sec. 4, eff. Dec. 4, 1986; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 262, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 350, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 277, Sec. 4, eff. June 14, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 794, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1104, Sec. 4, eff. June 16, 1989; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 16, Sec. 4.02, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 228, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 287, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 386, Sec. 70, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 446, Sec. 1, eff. June 11, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 544, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 545, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 597, Sec. 57, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 853, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 6, Sec. 6; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 14, Sec. 3.01, eff. Nov. 12, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 107, Sec. 4.07, eff. Aug. 30, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 116, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 339, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 695, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 912, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 10, eff. May 30, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 621, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 729, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1423, Sec. 4.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 90, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 322, Sec. 2, eff. May 29, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 882, Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 974, Sec. 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 272, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 442, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 669, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 3.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 235, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 474, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 930, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. Reenacted and amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 728 (H.B. 2018), Sec. 4.001, eff. September 1, 2005. Amended by: Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 908 (H.B. 2884), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007. Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1164 (H.B. 3201), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009. Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 85 (S.B. 653), Sec. 3.001, eff. September 1, 2011. Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 402 (S.B. 601), Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 2011. Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 584 (H.B. 3815), Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 2011. Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1163 (H.B. 2702), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011. Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 8 (S.B. 543), Sec. 2, eff. May 2, 2013. Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 93 (S.B. 686), Sec. 2.01, eff. May 18, 2013. Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 333 (H.B. 11), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015. Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 34 (S.B. 319), Sec. 2, eff. May 14, 2019. Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 404 (S.B. 1550), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2021.


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