Texas Rangers Today

Photograph of the Chief of the Texas Rangers
Chief Scotty Shiver

The Rangers have protected the people of Texas since 1823, when colonizer Stephen F. Austin called for men to “Range” the frontier.

The modern Texas Rangers are an investigative division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The 172 Rangers authorized by the Texas Legislature are posted across Texas in six companies with headquarters in Houston, Garland, Lubbock, Weslaco, El Paso, and Waco/San Antonio with an administrative headquarters office in Austin. The Rangers have been called one of the most effective investigative law enforcement agencies in the world.

These highly motivated men and women, selected from many outstanding candidates, take pride in the colorful traditions they have inherited and the modern challenges they face. As living symbols of a unique heritage, they wear the boots, white hats and pistol belts of their predecessors.

As elite law enforcement officers of the 21st century, they have added college degrees, networked computers, cell phones and state-of-the-art forensic analyses. The Texas Rangers are a heritage to be valued and a symbol of service for future generations.

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco is a cooperative project of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers and the City of Waco. It preserves and interprets a unique heritage of service spanning three centuries. We hope you will visit the next time you are in Waco.

What Texas Rangers Do

The responsibilities of today’s Texas Rangers have expanded significantly over the last 20 years. New threats posed by organized crime, terrorism and drug cartels have stretched them far beyond their traditional roles of criminal investigation and law enforcement.

Basic Mission

  • Interagency Investigative Assistance: Render assistance to local law enforcement officials as requested or assigned. Establish direct personal contact and maintain close liaison with all agencies, or branches thereof, concerned with the investigation and suppression of criminal activities. These activities extend nationwide with distribution of information on active offenders and criminal offenses to all interested agencies;
  • Criminal Intelligence/Suppression of Organized Crime: The Texas Ranger Division investigates organized criminal activity and coordinates with federal, state, county, and city law enforcement agencies to suppress such activity;
  • Localized Suppression of Crime in Extraordinary Circumstances: Under orders of the Director of Texas DPS, suppress all criminal activity in areas where local officials are unwilling or unable to maintain law and order;
  • Interagency Training: Participate in and provide specialized educational training programs to local, state, and federal law enforcement representatives;
  • Special Officers of the Court: Upon the specific request or order of a judge, serve as special officers of the court to maintain decorum and protect life and property during any judicial proceeding;
  • Internal Investigations: With the authorization of the Director of Texas DPS, conduct investigations of alleged misconduct on the part of other Texas Department of Public Safety personnel; serve as lead Department investigators when a Texas Department of Public Safety member is killed or suffers serious bodily injury, attributable to an intentional act;
  • Forensic Capabilities: Provide personnel trained in hypnosis and art to assist witnesses and victims in recalling the details of crimes; provide facial reconstruction for use as an investigative tool with skeletal remains;
  • Special Security for Elected Officials: When called upon, provide protection for elected officials at public functions and as directed by a superior officer;
  • Gubernatorial Security: Assist the Governor’s Protective Detail in providing security for the Texas Governor during his official travel throughout the state, as well as other dignitaries.

Special Operations Group (SOG) Programs

The Special Operations Group (SOG) is comprised of six programs to counter threats posed by criminal organizations, terrorists (both international and domestic), and drug trafficking organizations with a focus on the US-Mexican Border. SOG draws on highly trained personnel, technology, interagency cooperation and other assets to resolve critical incidents, through task forces and a special command structure. SOG consists of:

  • The Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) is a highly trained team, headquartered in Austin, whose primary mission is to respond statewide to critical incidents of a high risk nature. This includes hostage situations, barricaded subjects, active shooter incidents and high risk warrant service.
  • The Bomb Squad is a component of the SWAT Team that responds to situations involving explosive devices and related threats. Bomb technicians train with the US Army at Red Stone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama. They undergo rigorous training courses in deactivating explosive devices, assessing bomb threats, disposal of recovered explosives and counter terrorism related situations. They are also trained in the collection of fragmentary evidence and forensic analysis of explosions. The Bomb Squad is accredited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • The Ranger Reconnaissance Team is a highly trained tactical team carrying out specific missions, focusing on the Texas-Mexico border. The team is capable of operating covertly in remote areas where conventional law enforcement cannot operate. The team focuses on gathering intelligence, conducting interdiction, and disrupting criminal activity associated with drug cartels.
  • Special Response Teams (SRT) are specialized rapid response teams which operate in each of the DPS Regions. SRT is comprised of members from the Texas Highway Patrol, Criminal Investigations Division and the Texas Rangers. SRT members serve high risk warrants and respond to critical incidents involving barricaded subjects, hostage situations, and active shooter incidents within their respective DPS regions.
  • Crisis Negotiation Teams (CNT) members deploy as a team and evaluate and resolve critical incidents involving emotionally disturbed individuals, hostage situations, and/or barricaded subjects. CNT members are comprised of a cross section of officers from Texas Highway Patrol, Criminal Investigations Division and the Texas Rangers, who respond to incidents within their respective regions.
  • Joint Operations Intelligence Centers (JOIC) and the Border Security Operations Center (BSOC) – Six Joint Operations and Intelligence Centers (JOICs) are distributed along the Texas/Mexico border. These JOICs collect a wide variety of intelligence and real time surveillance information and forward it to the Border Security Operations Center (BSOC) in Austin. The BSOC collects, organizes and analyzes a myriad of information and briefs state, local, and federal law enforcement partners. This makes joint operations possible to prevent or intercept illegal cross-border activities such as the shipment of drugs, weapons and cash from illegal activities.

Specialized Programs

  • Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) Program: This internationally recognized program trains Texas Highway Patrol Troopers and other law enforcement officers to recognize suspicious behavior in children and adults leading to the identification and recovery of abducted and missing children. Officers receiving this training Officers using the program have rescued more than100 missing and endangered children since its founding in 2010.
  • Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program: The Unsolved Crimes Investigation program provides Texas law enforcement agencies with a means of investigating unsolved murders or what appears to be a serial or linked crimes often involving homicides. There is no statute of limitations on the offense of murder, so the state has the moral and statutory obligations to pursue these cases until all leads are exhausted.
  • Public Corruption Unit: The 81st Texas Legislature created a Public Corruption Unit within the Texas Department of Public Safety under the Texas Ranger Division. The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating public corruption among public officials, law enforcement officers, and others holding positions of public trust.