Texans who work in law enforcement have a high calling: keeping others safe and maintaining order in society. You have worked hard to become a licensed police officer, corrections officer, or telecommunicator in Texas. However, a single complaint can destroy your livelihood and all the hard work you have invested.
If your law enforcement license is threatened by a complaint or investigation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), it is imperative that you take immediate legal action. The Texas law enforcement license defense attorneys at Bertolino LLP are here to help you.
Law Enforcement Agencies Brace for Unprecedented Times
The image of a police officer justly sparks notions of protection, justice, and law and order in the public’s minds. Most children even idealize the occupation, often adding “I want to be a cop” to their list of future professions. However, the landscape of law enforcement is changing drastically.
While no occupation is free from scandal or crime, the media has examined law enforcement officers with a fine-tooth comb, causing the few to overshadow the many. Just like the commercials practically eclipsed the 2019’s Super Bowl game, major events exposing police misconduct have led to a shifting of the public conscience.
According to a study on memory development, people remember negative events much more than positive events. When the public is constantly bombarded with police abuse and misconduct stories, it can quickly become society’s normal perception of law enforcement. As public opinion becomes more negative, dropping 10% in four years, police officers are under increasing scrutiny.
Law Enforcement Decertification May Be Easier in the Future
More than 3,000 legislative bills have been introduced to change police policy in the last four years. 24 states have already passed significant enactments aimed at increasing law enforcement transparency and accountability. Opinion polls, educational institutions, and personal essays are flooding the internet with various ideas of law enforcement reformation.
Some of the most prominent ideas being discussed in the media include:
- Defunding police departments: While most of America does not support defunding the police, there are several critical articles in favor of diverting law enforcement funds to civilian payout accounts for police misconduct.
- Federal oversight: Other educational institutions are releasing articles aimed at increased police officer oversight from the federal government.
- Improved training: Moderate sources have offered that improving police officer training, specifically in the use of firearms, may be the best reform.
No matter what side of the fence you fall on, louder public outcry means more officers will be at risk of losing their law enforcement licenses. It is crucial to your career to have an attorney by your side with the gratitude and respect you deserve for putting your life on the line every day.
Why Protecting Police Officers and Law Enforcement Licenses is Critical
When society begins to doubt the integrity and importance of peace officers, it is essential to balance the perspective. Police officers wake up every day and face the worst events and situations in our communities, fully accepting they may not make it home. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI):
- 59 peace officers were killed in the line of duty, marking a 51% increase
- 60,105 officers were assaulted in the line of duty
- 44,421 police officers were attacked with hands, fists, and feet
- 2,744 law enforcement officers were assaulted with firearms
- 1,180 peace officers were attacked with knives and other cutting instruments
- The remaining 11,760 officers were assaulted with different types of dangerous weapons
- 5 police officers were killed in the line of duty
- 6 officers accidentally lost their lives
- 12 peace officers were assaulted
More Officers Are Leaving Their Departments
Despite the inherent danger, Texas law enforcement officers continue to wake up every day and willingly place themselves in life-threatening situations so we do not have to. However, some police officers feel that their sacrifice is being overlooked and have begun to leave their departments. According to a recent study:
- The rate of retirement for law enforcement officers has increased by 45%
- Resignation rates have increased by 20%
- Hiring and recruiting has decreased by 5%
As police departments shrink, murders and shootings have seen a 24% spike over a period of 15 months. In Minneapolis alone:
- 300 police officers have left by way of attrition, retirement, or disability
- Gunshot victims have increased by 90% in the last year
In addition, the few recruits law enforcement agencies are receiving are far below the quality usually expected of the profession. As applications have decreased by 40%, those that do apply are not meeting the minimum requirements.
If you have recently come under scrutiny or are facing allegations of misconduct, Bertolino LLP is here for you. We understand that the true face of law enforcement can be seen in the stories posted on CNN’s Beyond the Call of Duty, Fox News’ Weekly Heroes, 10,000 Good Things Police Do Each Day, and more.
Data Proves More Law Enforcement Officers in Cities Save Lives
The above statistics show that losing police officers is a substantial rise in crime. Economist Morgan Williams and his colleagues recently released their research showing how important each police officer is to their community. According to Williams’s study:
- For every new police officer added, a city prevents between .06 and .1 homicides, meaning between 10 and 17 new officers saves one more life a year
- In addition, every new police officer reduces rape, aggravated assault, and robbery
- Larger police forces in cities result in “Black lives saved at about twice the rate of white lives saved”
With larger police forces in cities, Williams also found that arrests for serious crimes fell. He and his colleagues hypothesize that the presence of more law enforcement is enough to deter major criminal activity. When peace officers face allegations of misconduct, the importance of skilled representation cannot be understated.
Today’s climate is changing for law enforcement. The overwhelming negativity in the media has led to shrinking departments, an increase in violent crimes, and a greater chance of law enforcement license revocation. The probability of an officer facing harsher disciplinary actions and adverse consequences disproportionate to the offense also increases. Without experienced and knowledgeable representation, your case may be used to set an example and appease growing public outcry.
We Can Represent You at Every Stage of the Complaint Resolution Process
Licensed law enforcement officers in Texas are regulated by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). The TCOLE investigates complaints against peace officers under the following circumstances:
- An alleged violation of a law or rule relates to licensing, certification, or appointment;
- A licensed officer is facing criminal charges or other legal consequences for criminal offenses above a Class C misdemeanor
- An alleged issue involving fraudulent or substandard training of law enforcement officers.
If you are implicated in a complaint filed with the TCOLE, you will be served with notice of TCOLE’s intended disciplinary action. From there, you have the right to legal representation from a professional license defense attorney.
Put Your Trust in Our Law Enforcement License Defense Attorneys
The dedicated lawyers of Bertolino LLP have successfully defended peace officers’ rights throughout the state. We have the experience and legal knowledge needed to help you take aggressive action to preserve your license.
Schedule a consultation with our highly accomplished legal team and learn what strategies we can employ to prevent license revocation or suspension.Call Today
A law firm you can trust; a law firm that will stand up to the Board for you
Our attorneys have the experience and legal knowledge needed to help law enforcement officers take aggressive action to protect their licenses. We will get to know you and your case, thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the allegation(s), and help you mount a strong defense to protect your license and your career.
Contact us today to find out what an Austin law enforcement license defense lawyer can do for you. Call (512) 476-5757 to reach our Austin office.Contact Now