According to an article in the Texas Tribune, beginning September 1st., 2017, first responders can avoid prosecution by having 'first responder specialty courts' hear their cases. ("public safety employee" means a peace officer, firefighter, detention officer, county jailer, or emergency medical services employee...”)
"Texas police officers and other first responders who have job-related mental health issues can soon be diverted into pretrial treatment programs if they commit a crime.."
Texas House Bill 3391 "relates to the creation of a specialty court for certain public safety employees who commit a criminal offense; imposing fees for participation and testing, counseling, and treatment." (Click here to find out more.)
According to the Texas Legislature Online, not a single politician thought letting police officers avoid prosecution was a bad idea. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill in June, along with a handful of other bills that focused on helping police and first responders.
Judge warns police specialty courts could be abused...
“A specialty court could have the unintended consequences that there is special treatment — that there is less justice for law enforcement personnel than [a citizen’s] own family,” County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
She's right, this will have unintended consequences.
Officers need their friend(s) to vouch for them to avoid prosecution
For years, states have used 'specialty courts' to deal with things like probation issues and drug treatment concerns. But creating a first responder specialty court can and will be abused.
Texas, is the first state to create a 'first responder specialty court' designed to help police officers avoid prosecution!
For a police officer to avoid prosecution, he or she will need to get their fellow officers to vouch that they need to be in the 'safety treatment program'. And just like some perverted magic act, all of the officers problems will disappear.
Cops entering the 'safety employee treatment program' will have their criminal charges dismissed
Police officers who've committed a crime will receive a get out of jail free card, simply by requesting a 'first responder specialty court' hearing and paying up to $1,0000
to enter into the 'safety treatment program'.
Once a police officer has entered the 'safety treatment program' all charges against them will be dismissed.
To summarize, all a police officer has to do is claim they suffered from a brain injury, mental illness, or mental disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder while on duty and any crime they committed will be dismissed.
Do you think the public would ever be able to claim 'post-traumatic police syndrome' after being wrongfully arrested, beaten or targeted by the police?
If you thought it was hard finding out if a police officer has ever had disciplinary problems, it is about to get a whole lot worse. Now the courts can magically dismiss all charges against the officer and the public will never be the wiser.
To say that 'specialty first responder courts' are a bad idea would be an understatement. If anyone ever doubts that police are treated differently, just ask them to explain whats happening in Texas.
It appears that 'specialty courts' are expanding across the country, how long before other states create their own first responder specialty courts? (A Google search for 'specialty courts are expanding ' returned over 100,000 hits.)