Texas senators pass police reform bill

2 years 4 months 4 weeks ago Friday, April 23 2021 Apr 23, 2021 April 23, 2021 5:22 PM April 23, 2021 in News - Local

In response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Texas state senators passed Senate Bill 68 -- a bill designed to hold officers witnessing unreasonable force accountable.

If signed into law, police officers would be required to intervene if they witness another officer using what they believe to be unreasonable force. 

UTRGV Criminal Justice Professor Steve Romero said the bill would lead to better policing

Romero served as a federal agent for more than 26 years and said when it comes to policing on a local, state and federal level - officers are trained to intervene when they see other officers use unreasonable excessive force. 

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez confirmed Romero's statement, adding that troopers know exactly what to do in a tense situation. 

"When they go through the 28 week DPS training academy they go through the use of force,” Lt. Olivarez said. “They go through de-escalation and we do have policy procedures in place as it pertains to use of force.”

Romero said there are several different ways police can address use of force - including officers being part of the community they police. 

"You need to understand the nuances,” Romero said. “You need to understand the people and where they are coming from because you can better connect, develop rapport. That is going to help dealing with people." 

SB 68 still has to be approved by the house - then signed by the governor - before it becomes law. 

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