In efforts to improve police-community relations, the bills below will help law enforcement officers better communicate with people, as well as allow people earlier access to body camera recordings of certain incidents.
HB 1386 (Author: Senfronia Thompson | Sponsor: Zaffirini), Relating to training and development activities for persons who may interact with an individual with autism or other pervasive developmental disorder. Prior to passage of this bill, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) was required to conduct training and development activities for certain individuals – school personnel, medical personnel, and law enforcement – who may interact with people with autism or other pervasive developmental disorders in the course of their employment. This bill now requires training and development activities for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services personnel, as well. Furthermore, HHSC must now ensure that the training and development activities for all individuals are evidence-based, occupation-specific, and instructive regarding means of effectively communicating and engaging with individuals with limited social or verbal abilities. – Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2019
HB 4236 (Author: Charles “Doc” Anderson | Sponsor: Birdwell), Relating to permitting the viewing of certain body worn camera recordings. Prior to passage of this bill, a recording created with a law enforcement officer’s body camera that documented an incident involving the use of deadly force by a peace officer – or that was otherwise related to an administrative or criminal investigation of an officer – could not be deleted, destroyed, or released to the public until all criminal matters had been finally adjudicated and all related administrative investigations had concluded. Under this bill, a law enforcement agency can permit a person depicted in such a recording (or, if the person is deceased, his or her authorized representative) to view that recording, provided that the viewing furthers a law enforcement purpose and that the representative was not a witness to the incident. A person viewing the recording cannot duplicate it or capture video or audio from it. This change in law applies to a recording held by a law enforcement agency on or after September 1, 2019, regardless of when the recording was created. – Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2019