TX cops now required to give written warnings

TX cops now required to give written warnings

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The way police officers handle traffic stops is changing this year.

The Sandra Bland Act, Senate Bill 1849, went into effect January 1.

It requires Texas officers to document every traffic stop they make, even verbal warnings.

The new section of the bill comes after a woman named Sandra Bland died in a jail cell in Waller County in 2015 after a traffic stop.

State Rep. Garnet F. Coleman, D-Houston, who wrote the bill said it is to keep both law enforcement and the public safe and to prevent future tragedies like Sandra Bland's.

For some agencies, the new law is a bit of a change.

"Instead of just pulling someone over and saying please don't do that, we're going to say please don't do that sign here," said Sgt. Patrick Swanton with the Waco Police Department said.

"It's checks and balances. It helps us keep an eye on ourselves, allows us to be consistent in how we deal with people we make traffic stops on," Saunders said.

Hewitt Police Assistant Chief Tuck Saunders said it allows them to look at that data at any time and see where they are as a department in terms of racial profiling and other issues.

"It's checks and balances," said Chief Saunders. "It helps us keep an eye on ourselves, allows us to be consistent in how we deal with people we make traffic stops on."

As for DPS Troopers, Sergeant Dan Buesing said they have been handing out warning slips for years.

The good news, he said the written warnings do not go on your record, and there is no limit to how many you can get before cops give you a ticket. Sgt. Buesing said that is all up to the law enforcement officer.

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