Texas police reform bill signed into law by Gov. Abbott

Governor Greg Abbott signed a handful of bills into law on Monday, including a measure that will bring reform to police practices in Texas.

The legislation becoming law improves training, makes some police practices illegal and increases hiring transparency.

"It brings all police professions across the state of Texas up to the same level," said Mike Mata, President, Dallas Police Association.

The police reform legislation was praised by police associations and those who've held police accountable.

"I think this is a huge step in the right direction," said Russell Wilson, lawyer and former prosecutor.

State Rep. Ed Thompson wrote House Bill 3712, which brings uniformity to Texas policing.

The measure raises training standards and creates a model curriculum for officers who train recruits. It also bans chokeholds, carotid artery and neck restraints. Additionally, it requires the release of termination and discipline records when officers apply at another department across the state or nation.

"What we call the ‘gypsy officer,’ that officer who gets in trouble at one department and then quits before termination or before the disciplinary hearing and then goes to another department. Now it mandates that every hiring department go to the other department where they come from," Mata said.

"So that the hiring department should know the type of officer that they're hiring or potentially hiring. It regulates that statewide so it helps eliminate that type of bad apple."

Wilson prosecuted police officers as a Dallas County Assistant District Attorney and recently was special prosecutor in a case involving a Fort Worth officer.

"This legislation was long overdue. I was glad to see the governor finally signing this into law," he said.

Mata said the new legislation should be welcomed by law enforcement across Texas.

"It was a collective work from law enforcement administrations, police organization associations with the legislature to do the right type of legislation to correct the big problems that are within policing," Mata said.

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