The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (SAC) has recently completed its analysis of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). It has made numerous recommendations to improve the oversight of the organization. Many recommendations are management actions.
The summary is not pleasant for TCOLE. The SAC believes the regulation and oversight efforts of TCOLE is “toothless.” The SAC also believes there is a lack of accountability; amongst other concerns raised.
The SAC believes the issues to stem from regulatory gaps and not TCOLE operations. Such topic of root cause analysis is very debatable. TCOLE has the authority to create and enforce rules.
They, TCOLE, have the authority to improve training requirements. If there is a regulatory issue within TCOLE, we believe it is the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) component which TCOLE has direct control to create rules, in many cases. Those rules, become enforceable items.
The Texas Occupational Code 1701.501 requires enforcement of TAC rules. The same 1701 series authorizes TCOLE to create rules and create oversight functions, so there will be “teeth.”
Much of the regulatory concerns raised appear to be a lack of accountability of TCOLE, as a whole.
There are some positives which have been raised in the assessment sent to the 87th Legislature. It is recommended that current and new license applicants and holders obtain fingerprinting. It also recommends clearer language, as it relates to obtaining subpoenas.
Again, there are some concerns within the assessment too. For example, Texas Occupational Code 1701.202, .203, and .2035 already outlines much of the complaint process requirements. TCOLE, has yet, to meet the statutory requirements of law.
Also, TCOLE should already have created a penalty matrix, conducting a risk-based audit system, and established written policies of operations.
In our opinion, it seems as though, the person or people involved in the operations and management of such process are failing to perform the required statutory components.
Much of what has been recommended is, simply, good business practice. It is concerning the agency needs someone to mandate such concepts and principles.
There are key takeaways which are good for improving the law for TCOLE; however, much of the management recommendations should already have been completed. There is nothing stopping TCOLE from managing within the scope of the law it already has authority to improve upon. The legislatures should not have to figure everything out for TCOLE.
The complete Report to the 87th Legislature can be found HERE.