The Texas Department of Public Safety has a critical shortage of officers and is poorly prepared to respond to terrorism, says a legislative report quoted by the Associated Press. The Sunset Advisory Commission, a group that periodically reviews state agencies, recommends a substantial makeover. “Despite its many dedicated employees, the department’s tendency to do things ‘because they’ve always been done that way,’ and not carefully scrutinize operations reduces the agency’s success,” said the report.
Other problems include a driver’s license program that doesn’t meet consumer needs and a vehicle inspection program open to fraud because of a lack of supervision. One recommendation is to use civilians for jobs that are not directly police-related. Those functions should be run more like a business and less like a bureaucracy, the report said. “We are tying up lots of troopers, and that talent could be served out on the roads, protecting the roads,” said state Sen. Kim Brimer, a commission member. The department has never changed significantly, said Mitchel Roth, a professor of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University. “Since it was created in 1935, there have been times of shifting of divisions and cutting back on staff or adding some, but nothing major,” he said. “And any time you have a large bureaucracy, there are going to be holes.”