A study of the state police during the E.J. Davis administration




Nunn, W. C. (William Curtis), 1908-2001

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Due to the efforts of Governor Davis, an act was passed by the [Texas] state legislature on July 1, 1870, creating a state police force. This body of men was composed of a chief, four captains, eight lieutenants, twenty sergeants, and two hundred and twenty-five privates. The state police were, in their actions, under the absolute control of the governor and could be dismissed by him at any time. They were to work in conjunction with the state militia. Incorporated as a part of the state police system were the local peace officers; these included the sheriffs, constables, city marshals, and local police. However, the state police could work independently of the local peace officers wherever it was necessary. As provided by the state police act, the adjutant general was to serve as chief of the organization. Consequently, Adjutant General James Davidson became chief of state police. [...] During 1871, an amendment to the state police act was passed which provided that the force should be made up of six captains, twelve lieutenants, thirty sergeants and two hundred and ten privates. The salaries of the policemen were increased, and they were to be allowed the same compensation for mileage as was permitted to sheriffs. The act further provided that the governor could create special policemen wherever necessary, but they were not to exceed twenty in number; the governor might also constitute baggage masters and conductors on railroads to act as special police. [...] In January of 1873, with a majority of Democrats in the legislature, the state police was doomed and on April 22, the measure creating the institution was repealed