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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Blog Art. 2.137

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law explains Article 2.137 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.


In an effort to increase transparency and accountability in law enforcement practices, the state of Texas has implemented Article 2.137 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This law mandates the Department of Public Safety to provide funds or video and audio equipment to law enforcement agencies to equip their motor vehicles and motorcycles with video and audio equipment or equip peace officers with body worn cameras.


The law also outlines specific criteria for prioritizing which law enforcement agencies receive funding or equipment first. These criteria include tax effort, financial hardship, available revenue, and budget surpluses. Priority is given to law enforcement agencies that employ peace officers whose primary duty is traffic enforcement, smaller jurisdictions, and municipal and county law enforcement agencies.


To ensure that the distribution of funds or equipment is fair and based on the actual needs of law enforcement agencies, the Department of Public Safety is required to collaborate with an institution of higher education to identify which agencies require funding or equipment. This may involve the use of a survey to help develop the criteria for prioritizing funding or equipment.


In order for law enforcement agencies to receive funds or equipment from the state, the governing body of a county or municipality must certify to the Department of Public Safety that the agency needs the funds or equipment for the purpose of equipping their motor vehicles or peace officers with body worn cameras. Once the funds or equipment have been received, the governing body must also certify that the agency is using the video and audio equipment or body worn cameras as intended.


This law is an important step towards increasing transparency and accountability in law enforcement practices in Texas. By equipping law enforcement officers with video and audio equipment or body worn cameras, incidents of police misconduct or excessive use of force can be better documented and investigated. This can help to build trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, which is crucial for maintaining public safety.


If you are a law enforcement agency in Texas looking to obtain funding or equipment for video and audio equipment or body worn cameras, it is important to understand the criteria for prioritization and the certification process outlined in Article 2.137 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. A criminal defense attorney can provide guidance and assistance with navigating this process and ensuring that your agency is in compliance with the law.



Art. 2.137. PROVISION OF FUNDING OR EQUIPMENT. (a) The Department of Public Safety shall adopt rules for providing funds or video and audio equipment to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of installing video and audio equipment in law enforcement motor vehicles and motorcycles or equipping peace officers with body worn cameras, including specifying criteria to prioritize funding or equipment provided to law enforcement agencies. The criteria may include consideration of tax effort, financial hardship, available revenue, and budget surpluses. The criteria must give priority to: (1) law enforcement agencies that employ peace officers whose primary duty is traffic enforcement; (2) smaller jurisdictions; and (3) municipal and county law enforcement agencies. (b) The Department of Public Safety shall collaborate with an institution of higher education to identify law enforcement agencies that need funds or video and audio equipment for the purpose of installing video and audio equipment in law enforcement motor vehicles and motorcycles or equipping peace officers with body worn cameras. The collaboration may include the use of a survey to assist in developing criteria to prioritize funding or equipment provided to law enforcement agencies. (c) To receive funds or video and audio equipment from the state for the purpose of installing video and audio equipment in law enforcement motor vehicles and motorcycles or equipping peace officers with body worn cameras, the governing body of a county or municipality, in conjunction with the law enforcement agency serving the county or municipality, shall certify to the Department of Public Safety that the law enforcement agency needs funds or video and audio equipment for that purpose. (d) On receipt of funds or video and audio equipment from the state for the purpose of installing video and audio equipment in law enforcement motor vehicles and motorcycles or equipping peace officers with body worn cameras, the governing body of a county or municipality, in conjunction with the law enforcement agency serving the county or municipality, shall certify to the Department of Public Safety that the law enforcement agency has taken the necessary actions to use and is using video and audio equipment and body worn cameras for those purposes. Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 947, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by: Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 950 (S.B. 1849), Sec. 5.04, eff. September 1, 2017.


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