If you’re charged with a felony, there’s a good chance you could face jail time – unless, you’re a police officer. An investigation by Austin NBC affiliate KXAN found that in the nearly 300 cases in recent years in which law enforcement officers had surrendered their badges, nearly all of those officers had been charged with a crime.
Jody Barr led the KXAN investigation with reporter/producer David Barer. Barr says the cases in which officers were charged “ran the gamut from very serious felonies down to misdemeanor assault cases.”
Barr says after some officers surrendered their badges – their license to be a law enforcement officer in Texas – investigations into their alleged crimes stopped.
Prosecutors told Barr that because of Texas law, this is the more effective way to get a “bad cop” off the street because it’s harder to get an officer convicted of a felony – another way that could lead to an officer relinquishing her badge.
“Even some district attorneys we interviewed for this investigation admitted that, yeah, these are negotiating tools,” Barr says.
Barr’s investigation included the story of a San Marcos police officer who was accused of assaulting a woman with whom he had a confrontation while making another arrest. Barr says the officer was offered a punishment of 10 years’ probation if he surrendered his badge. The officer took the deal, and charges were dropped.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.