Texas’ two largest police unions, which have independently pushed laws to benefit their members, hope to merge this year in a move that officials say will give them greater political clout, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The consolidation of the Texas Municipal Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas would result in an organization representing more than 30,000 officers and make it one of the largest police unions in the nation.
Union officials said they would push issues that would strengthen officers’ rights, including creating an appeals process for all officers who are disciplined or fired. Officers, particularly those in some smaller Texas agencies, do not have such rights. Unions want to lobby for laws that would prevent counties from hiring private security guards instead of licensed corrections officers at county jails and for rules that would give officers greater access to information related to them. Officers in some circumstances are precluded from viewing any documents about them, particularly those in an internal affairs investigation in which they are the subject.