Who are the Police?

A police department is a legally constituted body of persons empowered by a state to enforce the law, to protect people and property, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their powers include the power of arrest and the lawful use of force. The term is most commonly associated with police services that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from military or other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors. The police force is usually a public sector service, funded through taxes and other resources.

In the state of Texas, “Peace Officers” (police officers) are licensed through the state and regulated by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Article 2.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure answers the question specifically “who are peace officers?”

The following are peace officers and have authority to enforce the laws of The State of Texas:

  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. Airport police officers commissioned by a city with a population of more than 1.18 million located primarily in a county with a population of 2 million or more that operates an airport that serves commercial air carriers;
  12. Airport security personnel commissioned as peace officers by the governing body of any political subdivision of this state, other than a city described by Subdivision (11), that operates an airport that serves commercial air carriers;
  13. Municipal park and recreational patrolmen and security officers;
  14. Security officers and investigators commissioned as peace officers by the comptroller;
  15. Officers commissioned by a water control and improvement district under Section 49.216, Water Code;
  16. Officers commissioned by a board of trustees under Chapter 54, Transportation Code;
  17. Investigators commissioned by the Texas Medical Board;
  18. Officers commissioned by:
  • 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;
  • The board of directors of the Ector County Hospital District under Section 1024.117, Special District Local Laws Code; and
  • The board of directors of the Midland County Hospital District of Midland County, Texas, under Section 1061.121, Special District Local Laws Code;
  1. County park rangers commissioned under Subchapter E, Chapter 351, Local Government Code;
  2. Investigators employed by the Texas Racing Commission;
  3. Officers commissioned under Chapter 554, Occupations Code;
  4. 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;
  5. Investigators commissioned by the attorney general under Section 402.009, Government Code;
  6. Security officers and investigators commissioned as peace officers under Chapter 466, Government Code;
  7. Officers appointed by an appellate court under Subchapter F, Chapter 53, Government Code;
  8. Officers commissioned by the state fire marshal under Chapter 417, Government Code;
  9. An investigator commissioned by the commissioner of insurance under Section 701.104, Insurance Code;
  10. Apprehension specialists and inspectors general commissioned by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department as officers under Sections 242.102 and 243.052, Human Resources Code;
  11. Officers appointed by the inspector general of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice under Section 493.019, Government Code;
  12. investigators commissioned by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement under Section 1701.160, Occupations Code;
  13. Commission investigators commissioned by the Texas Private Security Board under Section 1702.061, Occupations Code;
  14. The fire marshal and any officers, inspectors, or investigators commissioned by an emergency services district under Chapter 775, Health and Safety Code;
  15. Officers commissioned by the State Board of Dental Examiners under Section 254.013, Occupations Code, subject to the limitations imposed by that section;
  16. Investigators commissioned by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department as officers under Section 221.011, Human Resources Code; and
  17. The fire marshal and any related officers, inspectors, or investigators commissioned by a county under Subchapter B, Chapter 352, Local Government Code.