dps

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Looking to clear the Texas Department of Public Safety's name, the agency’s top official is asking the head of the state's anti-corruption unit to renew a halted investigation into $20 million no-bid border security contracts.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

In the wake of last week and yesterday's rallies at the Capitol, the security detail under the dome has made some distinct changes to deal with large scale protests as the second special session begins.

flickr.com/kasiaflickr

The Texas Department of Public Safety is part of a nationwide commercial vehicle inspection program going on this week.

The overall Roadcheck initiative will have specially trained troopers and investigators inspecting commercial vehicles for serious equipment violations involving brakes, tires, lights and drivers that aren’t in compliance with state and federal requirements.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin has had another high-profile DWI arrest.

Texas Department of Public Safety official Richard Hooks was arrested early this morning and booked into the Travis County Jail.

Hooks is the Capital-area regional coordinator for the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is serving a 45-day sentence after pleading guilty to a DWI charge last month.

In March, state Rep. Naomi Gonzalez was arrested for DWI after a collision.

Alfredo Estrella / AFP/Getty Images

The Texas Department of Public Safety calls Mexican cartels the most significant organized crime threat in the state. In its 2013 report, the agency said six cartels are operating in Texas by moving drugs, people, cash and weapons across the border.

"It is a top DPS priority to severely obstruct the range and power of Mexican drug organizations to affect the public safety of Texas citizens," said DPS Director Steven McCraw at the Texas Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio this week.

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Future presidential candidates from Texas may have to foot the bill for their own security on the campaign trail.

Gov. Rick Perry’s unsuccessful run at the White House last year cost taxpayers $3.7 million. And state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, said at a House committee meeting today that the cost of non-state-related security is a burden to Texans.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Federal and state elected officials are now exempted from the background checks required of visitors to the Governor’s Mansion, the Department of Public Safety said Tuesday.

Several members of the Texas Legislature had complained last week after learning they were required to undergo background checks before being allowed to enter the Governor’s Mansion for a reception hosted by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Angry legislators had asked DPS officials why the vetting they go through by Capitol security wasn’t sufficient for access to the Governor’s residence.

Daniel Reese

The Texas Department of Public Safety is increasing patrols March 8-17 for Spring Break.

More DPS troopers will be on the roads watching for speeders, seat belt violations and especially drunk drivers.

facebook.com/cprittexas

Good morning. Austin’s in for temperatures approaching 80 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. A cold front is expected to blow into the region this weekend, bringing with it chances for showers and thunderstorms.  

Lead Story: Leaders of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas testified before a Texas house committee yesterday – but a couple of former leaders were noticeably absent.

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Texas lawmakers will return to Austin Jan. 8 for the 2013 Legislative Session.

Officials with the Department of Public Safety hope lawmakers will approve salary increases for state troopers. A recent report by the State Auditor’s office found troopers are making less money than many police and sheriff’s officers across the state.

Trooper Robbie Barrera says she didn’t join the Department of Public Safety for the money.

Good morning. Austin can expect cloud coverage for most of the day, and the occasional shower. The National Weather Service says we can a 40 percent chance of rain today. Here's some of KUT’s top stories this morning:

Here's  more stories of interest from Central Texas: 

  • Cyber Warfare Here To Stay; Austin Could Play Key Role (KVUE)

"It's a spy versus spy kind of world," said Ken Phillips, business development manager at Overwatch Textron Systems. The Austin-based business is developing the latest line of defense against cyber threats, which focuses on security at the file level in order to overcome internal leaks or systems that have been compromised.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has already stepped up DWI patrols for Labor Day.

For the next few weeks, DPS troopers are focusing on high-risk locations where alcohol-related crashes happen most often.

DPS says during Labor Day enforcement last year, troopers made more than 2,000 DWI arrests.

Daniel Reese, KUT News

The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding Fourth of July revelers to plan ahead before they party.

“If you are drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or some other form of transportation,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Otherwise, you could be making a very expensive or even fatal mistake.”

DPS has ramped up DWI patrols and will continue to increase enforcement through July 8. The department will focus their patrols on areas they consider to be high-risk during holiday weekends.

KUT News

Texas Department of Public Safety Completes ‘Roadcheck 2012’

Earlier this month, DPS troopers and civilian inspectors joined forces to make the roads safer in Texas. Inspecting more than 8,000 commercial vehicles, over a three-day period, the department issued thousands of citations and removed 1,763 vehicles and 243 drivers from the roads, according to a statement issued yesterday.

The program checks 18-wheelers, buses, and other commercial vehicles for things like unsafe brakes and tires. Drivers’ logs, driving time limits and licenses are also inspected.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/bwjones

Senator Looks to Speed Rape Kit Testing

State Senator Wendy Davis wants Texas law enforcement agencies to get more proactive about testing rape kits, says the Texas Tribune. The Tribune writes:

Image courtesy Department of Public Safety.

Starting today, new applicants for Texas driver’s licenses and IDs will have to meet stricter residency requirements.

First-time applicants have to meet all of the previous requirements, as well as present two additional documents that prove they live in Texas — like a current mortgage or lease agreement and a vehicle registration or title. You can view a complete list of acceptable documents to prove residency here

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Perry’s Security Costs Soar

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been releasing travel-related security costs incurred by Gov. Rick Perry during his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. However, the totals haven’t included overtime pay. The Texas Tribune requested the overtime amounts:

“In the six months in which Perry was an active presidential candidate, DPS spent $1.1 million on overtime pay for the Executive Protection Bureau – more than the total overtime pay for the security detail in all of 2010, records show. ”

In December, during Perry’s tour of Iowa, DPS spending costs came close to $300,000.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has started a process to fire a top official who used to be in charge of administering Homeland Security Grants in the state. DPS said in a statement that the move follows a five-month investigation of Janice Bruno and alleged criminal misconduct involving a grant issued to the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Image courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety

The Texas Department of Public Safety says it arrested 1,106 impaired drivers over the holidays.  That's a 35 percent increase over last year's 818 arrests.

DPS partially credits a Texas Department of Transportation grant targeting high risk locations for the increase.  Of this year's arrests, 442 were made in areas where drunken driving accidents were statistically more likely to occur.

The $2 million grant will fund increased patrols throughout 2011, meaning more troopers will be on patrol during Spring Break, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

Texas inspection sticker compared with David Langford photograph "Day's End 2"
Images provided by David K. Langford and Texas DPS.

A photographer from Boerne, a town of 10,000 about 90 miles southwest of Austin, is suing the Texas Department of Public Safety over the art used on more than 4 million inspection stickers.  David K.