Officer Class C Discretion, Employment Files Saved!
AUSTIN, Texas — The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas is proud to announce the final defeat of two last-minute House of Representative’s amendments that attempted to disclose your employment file and end officer discretion on “fine only” or “Class C” arrests.
“The majority of the House of Representatives engaged in an open war against their hometown heroes. There was no lack of leadership — the Leadership led the house in direct attacks sponsored by police hate groups against our professionalism, officer discretion and our reputations.” Said Sgt. Todd Harrison, CLEAT President and 31-year law enforcement officer who is an active duty Sgt. in the Austin Police Department.
In a flurry of last-minute positioning, the CLEAT Public Affairs team found itself on full-fledged defense against absolute lies by elected officials, weak-kneed deal attempts by other conflicted police unions and the constant maneuvering by anti-police groups masquerading as conservative think tanks.
“On behalf of Texas cops, like me, I’m just glad CLEAT exists. I’m proud of our lobby team, that never sleeps and never breaks. They adhere to our core values and bleed CLEAT 24/7.” Stated Harrison.
The first attack came when Senate bill 944 was hijacked in the Texas House of Representatives and allowed to be amended by Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso. Moody attached a failed bill of his that would allow the release of an officer’s personnel file, including unfounded and unsubstantiated complaints. The Senate rejected the amendment and forced the bill to conference committee.
Then, Senate Bill 815 was also amended with a virtual ban on arrests for “fine only” or “Class C” offenses. This amendment was also offered by Rep. Moody after similar measures had failed 6 times previously. The Republican Party of Texas and the powerful Texas Public Policy Foundation with its Right on Crime Initiative joined with anti-police groups “Just Liberty,” “Austin Justice Coalition” and other “Black Lives Matter” groups to attack front line officers and their rarely used discretion to arrest for Class C offenses.
CLEAT activated relationships in the Senate when the bills with the House albatross amendments had to come back for a vote. Senator Kirk Watson had worked on the elements of SB 944 for years only to see it hijacked by House leaders with a political axe to grind. The Governor’s office quiet but solid promise of a veto made to CLEAT’s Executive Director no doubt played a role in the defeat of the amendments.
Strong supporters of law enforcement in the Senate were appointed to the conference committee on SB 815 and they resisted repeated attempts to re-write the Moody amendment on Class C arrests and stood together to remove it.
It should be noted that a number of members of the Texas House stood firm in their support of law enforcement. Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), Mike Lang (R- Granbury) and Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) not only made the right votes, but also took to the microphone on the floor of the House to explain why. Rep. King and Lang are both former officers.
Also, Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), the House sponsor for SB 944, fought to keep his bill from being amended by Moody. When he failed, he made a commitment to CLEAT lobbyists to take it off in conference committee. He kept his word. He also stood with law enforcement and voted the right way on the “Class C” arrest bills.
These battles are not over. We can expect to see them again and again. Those who hate law enforcement and the men and women who run toward danger to protect others, have turned toward attacking those who advocate for those officers. They have declared open warfare on police unions and more specifically, CLEAT. We will not waiver in our defense of our members.
“There’s no organization like CLEAT.” Said Harrison. “We never give up and we’re not owned by politicians. We’re independent, we don’t accept government grants so we’re always free to fight for our members.”