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Research Center: Organization of The Texas Rangers in 1935
Laws and Regulations Pertaining to the Organization of the Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers in 1935
Note: The State and the Ranger Service were beset by
political strife and corruption in the early 1930s. Unqualified individuals
were appointed as Rangers through political patronage. Veteran Rangers
resigned rather than serve with unqualified appointees. Prisoners, such
as Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie & Clyde infamy), were paroled in large
numbers raising allegations of bribery.
In 1935 the Legislature had enough and organized the independent Texas
Department of Public Safety. Officers were subject to oversight by a
citizen Public Safety Commission. Rangers were commissioned by the Director,
not the Governor.
The first divisions of the new service were the Texas Rangers and the
Highway Patrol. The Rangers began their fourth transition in a hundred
years — from militia
to frontier lawmen to
State police to an elite
investigative force for the "prevention and detection
of crime." In a nod to the changing times their powers were expanded
to cover the apprehension of criminals on the "railroad, in a motor
vehicle, aeroplane or boat."
The Texas Rangers in 1935
Art. 4413(l). CREATION
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY - There is hereby created
a Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas, hereinafter designated
as "the Department," in which is vested the enforcement of
the laws protecting the public safety and providing for the prevention
and detection of crime. The Department shall have its principal office
and headquarters in the City of Austin, where all of its records shall
be kept. Acts 1935, 44th Leg., P. 444, ch. 181, sec. 1.
Art. 4413(2). CREATION
OF THE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSION - The control of the Department
is hereby vested in the Public Safety Commission, hereinafter designated
as "the Commission," which Commission shall consist of three
citizens of this State. The Governor shall, within thirty days after
this Act shall take effect, appoint the members of the Commission by
and with the advice and consent of the Senate to hold office until December
31, 1935, and they shall constitute the Public Safety Commission; and
on the lst day of January, 1936, the Governor shall appoint one member
to hold office for two years, one for four years, and one for six years,
and at the end of every two years thereafter, the Governor shall in
like manner, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the
State of Texas, appoint one citizen of Texas as the successor of the
member of the Commission whose term shall expire in that year, to serve
as such member of six years and until his successor is appointed and
qualified. The Commission shall elect annually one member of the Commission
to serve as chairman thereof. Two members of the Commission shall constitute
a quorum. In the event of a vacancy occurring on said Commission, the
Governor shall appoint a new member of the Commission to fill the said
vacancy for such unexpired term, such appointment to be subject to the
advice and consent of the Senate of the State of Texas, at the next
session thereof. The members of the Commission shall be elected because
of their peculiar qualifications fitting them for these positions. In
the appointment of the members of the Commission, the following qualifications
among others shall be observed: Knowledge of laws; experience in the
enforcement of law; honesty, integrity; education, training and executive
ability. They shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled
to receive Ten ($10.00) Dollars per day as an expense account and necessary
mileage in the performance of their duties, such expense allowance shall
not exceed Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars annually for each member.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., P. 444, ch. 181, sec. 2.
Art. 4413(3). ORGANIZATION
OF THE COMMISSION - The Commission shall meet at such
time and places as they may Provide for by rules or as the chairman
or any two members may call. Acts 1935, 44th Leg., P. 444, ch. 181,
Art. 4413(4). DUTIES
AND POWERS OF THE COMMISSION
(1)The Commission shall formulate plans and policies
for the enforcement of the criminal laws and of the traffic and safety
laws of the State, the prevention of crime, the detection and apprehension
of violators of the laws, and for the education of the citizens of the
State In the promotion of public safety and law observance.
(2)It shall organize the Department and supervise its
operation; it shall establish grades and positions for the Department,
and for each grade and position it shall designate the authority and
responsibility within the limits of this Act. For each such grade and
position so established, the Commission shall set standards of qualifications
and shall fix prerequisites of training, education and experience, and
shall make necessary rules and regulations for the appointment, promotion,
reduction, suspension and discharge of all employees after hearings
before the said Commission; that any officer or employee of the said
Department who shall be discharged shall upon application to the Commission
be entitled to a public hearing before said Commission and the Commission
shall determine whether such discharge shall be affirmed or set aside.
All persons inducted into the service of the Department shall be considered
on probation for the first six months and at any time during such period
they may be discharged if found to be unsuitable for the work by the
Director, with the advice and consent of the Commission, and, if so
discharged, such persons shall not be entitled to the public hearing
hereinabove provided for.
(3)The Commission shall establish and make public proclamation
of all rules and regulations for the conduct of the work of the Department
as may be deemed necessary and as may not be inconsistent with the provisions
of this Act or of the laws of the State.
(4)The Commission shall maintain records of all proceedings
and official orders.
(5)The Commission shall biennially submit a report of
its work to the Governor, and the Legislature, with its recommendations
and those of the Public Safety Director. A quarterly statement containing
an itemized list of all moneys received, and from what sources received,
and all moneys expended and for what purposes expended, shall be prepared
by the Director sworn to and filed in the records of the Department
and a copy shall be sent to the Governor.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., P. 444, ch. 181, sec. 4.
Art 4413(5). DIRECTORS;
AND ASSISTANT DIRECTORS; SALARY — The Commission
shall appoint a Public Safety Director hereinafter designated as the
"Director," who shall be a citizen of this State and who shall
hold his position until removed by the Commission. The Commission shall
also appoint an Assistant Director who shall perform such duties as
may be designated by the Director. The Director and Assistant Director
shall be selected on the basis of training, experience, and qualifications
for said positions, and shall have at least five (5) years experience,
preferably police or public administration. The Director and Assistant
Director shall draw annual salaries as fixed by the Legislature. The
Director shall be directly responsible to the Commission for the conduct
of all the affairs of the Department.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., P. 444, ch. 181, sec. 5; Acts 1937, 45th Leg.,
P. 772, ch. 373, sec. 1.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The amendatory
act of 1937, cited to the text, changed the salary provision of this
article which prior to the amendment specified the amount of the salaries
and provided for monthly payment.
Section 8 of the amendatory act of 1937 declared an
emergency and provided that the act should take effect from and after
its passage. Art. 4413(6). DUTIES
AND POWERS OF THE DIRECTOR
(1)The Director shall act with the Commission in an advisory capacity,
without vote, and shall quarterly, annually and biennially submit to
the Commission detailed reports of the operation of the Department and
statements of its expenditures.
(2) He shall be the executive officer of the Department,
and subject to the approval of the Commission and to the provisions
of this Act, he shall have authority to appoint, promote, reduce, suspend
and discharge all officers and employees of the Department. He shall
issue and sign requisition as provided by law for the purchase of supplies
for the office and officers of the Department, suitable uniforms, arms
and equipment; and make such rules and regulations, subject to the approval
of the Commission, as are deemed necessary for the control of the Department.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., p. 444, ch. 181, sec. 6. Art. 4413(7). AUTHORITY
TO ISSUE COMMISSIONS - The Director, under the direction
of the Commission, shall issue commissions as law enforcement officers
to all members of the Texas Rangers, to all members of the Texas Highway
Patrol, and to such other officers of the Department as may be employed
by the said Department.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., p. 444, ch. 181, sec. 7. Art. 4413(8). APPOINTMENT
OF DIVISION AND BUREAU CHIEFS - It shall be the duty of
the Director with the advice and consent of the Commission to appoint
the Chiefs of the several Bureaus provided for in this Act.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., p. 444, ch. 181, see. 8; Acts 1937, 45th Leg.,
p. 772, ch. 373, sec. 2.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The amendatory
act of 1937, cited to the text, completely changed this article, which
prior to the amendment, provided that the senior captain of the Texas
Rangers, the chief of the highway motor patrol and the assistant director
of the department should be chiefs of specified bureaus, and that the
chief of the bureau of identification and records should be appointed
by the director with the consent of the commission.
Art. 4413(10). DEPARTMENT
DIVISION - The Department shall be composed of three
divisions; i.e. (a) The Texas Rangers; (b) The Texas Highway Patrol;
and (c) The Headquarters Division, and such other divisions as the Commission
may deem necessary.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., p. 444, ch. 181, sec. 10. Art. 4413(il). THE TEXAS
(1) The Texas Ranger Force and its personnel,
property, equipment and records, now a part of the Adjutant General's
Department of the State of Texas, are hereby transferred to and placed
under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety, and are hereby
designated as the Texas Rangers, and as such, constitute the above mentioned
division of the Department.
(2) The Texas Rangers shall consist of six (6) captains,
one headquarters sergeant, and such number of privates as may be authorized
by the Legislature, except in cases of emergency when the Commission,
with the consent of the Governor, shall have authority to increase the
force to meet extraordinary conditions.
(3) The Compensation of the officers shall be such as
allowed by the Legislature.
(4) The officers shall be clothed with all the powers
of peace officers, and shall aid in the execution of the laws.
They shall have authority to make arrests, and to execute
process in criminal cases; and in civil cases when specially directed
by the judge of a court of record; and in all cases shall be governed
by the laws regulating and defining the powers and duties of sheriffs
when in the discharge of similar duties; except that they shall have
the power and shall be authorized to make arrests and to execute all
process in criminal cases in any county in the State. All officers operating
by virtue of this Act shall have the authority to make arrests, as directed
by warrants, and without a warrant under the conditions now authorized
by law, and also in all cases when the alleged offender is traveling
on a railroad, in a motor vehicle, aeroplane or boat. When any of said
force shall arrest any person charged with a criminal offense, they
shall forthwith convey said person to the county where he so stands
charged, and shall deliver him to the proper officer, taking his receipt
therefor. All necessary expenses thus incurred shall be paid by the
(5) Special Rangers:
The Commission shall have authority to appoint such number of special
rangers as may be deemed advisable, not to exceed Three Hundred (300)
in number; such rangers shall not have any connection with any Ranger
Company or Highway Motor Patrol, but they shall at all times be subject
to the orders of the Commission and the Governor for special duty
to the same extent as the other law enforcing officers provided for
in this Act; such special rangers, however, shall not have the authority
to enforce any laws except those designed to protect life and property,
and such rangers are especially denied the authority to enforce any
laws regulating the use of the State highways by motor truck and motor
buses and other motor vehicles. Such rangers shall not receive any
compensation from the State for their services, and before the issuance
of the commission each such ranger shall enter into a good and sufficient
bond executed by a Surety Company authorized to do business in Texas
in the sum of Twenty-five Hundred ($2,500.00) Dollars, approved by
the Director, indemnifying all persons against damages accruing as
the result of any illegal or unlawful acts on the part of such special
ranger. All special ranger commissions shall expire on January 1st
of the odd year after appointment, and the Director can revoke any
special ranger commission at any time for cause, and such officer
shall be designated in the Commission as Special Ranger.
Provided further that the Commission shall not issue
more than ten commissions to special rangers for employment by any one
persons, firm or corporation at any one time, except during an emergency,
when in the opinion of the Commission it is necessary in the interest
of the public justice to permit the employment of more than ten.
(6) In the execution of the laws of the State under
the Department of Public Safety, the officials shall in all cases where
it becomes necessary to seize property and destroy the same, to proceed
as now provided by law; and all property so seized shall be stored and
a list thereof presented to a District Judge in the District where such
property is seized, who shall dispose of same in the mode and manner
now provided by Articles Nos. 5112, 5113 and 5114, Revised Civil Statutes
Any official disregarding these provisions shall by
virtue thereof be subject to removal from office.
Acts 1935, 44th Leg., p. 444, ch. 181, sec. 1 1; Acts 1937, 45th Leg.,
p. 772, ch. 373, sec. 3.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The amendatory
act of 1937, cited to the text, greatly changed subdivision 2, which
prior thereto, provided for a headquarters company and not to exceed
two companies of mounted men, and contained provisions as to their composition,
and as to a quartermaster for the division. The exception as to emergencies
was not changed by the amendment.