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Texas Department of Public Safety

Texas Department of Public Safety

Texas Department of Public Safety

Agency History

In 1935, the 44th Legislature (Senate Bill 146, Regular Session), responding to recommendations made in 1933 by the Joint Legislative Committee on Organization and Economy, created the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for the purpose of placing under a single jurisdiction the state’s functions in crime prevention and traffic control programs. The original Department was composed of the Texas Rangers, removed from the Adjutant General’s Department; the State Highway Patrol, taken from the State Highway Department; and the Headquarters Division, composed of the Bureau of Identification and Records, the Bureau of Intelligence, the Bureau of Communications, the Bureau of Education, and various administrative and service units. Other divisions were added in later years, as needed (see divisional descriptions). A Certificate of Title Division was created in 1939 (House Bill 407, 46th Legislature, Regular Session) and administered by DPS until its transfer to the Highway Department in 1941.

By 1956, the Department had reconstituted the Headquarters Division into a number of major divisions and had added several new divisions to create a total of fourteen, each of which was headed by a Chief who answered to the Director. To alleviate this unwieldy structure, the 55th Legislature authorized the reorganization of DPS (House Bill 325, Regular Session, 1957). The Department then created six regional commands, each headed by a senior officer who was placed in command of the region’s Highway Patrol, License and Weight program, Motor Vehicle Inspection program, Drivers License program, Communications, and Safety Education Service. Each Regional Headquarters…Click here to read more of the agency History


The records are divided into several major series:

Restrictions and Requirements

Restrictions on Access

Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, information relating to law enforcement officers and complaints against law enforcement officers (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.108); names of juvenile offenders (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.101 and V.T.C.A. Family Code, Section 58.005); medical records (V.T.C.A., Occupations Code, Section 159.002(d)); social security numbers (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.147 and United States Code, Title 42, Section 405(c)(2)(C)); drivers license numbers, (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.130); certain addresses, telephone numbers, and personal family information (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.117 or Section 552.1175); account numbers (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.136); and records prepared by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 508.313), an archivist must review Texas Ranger Division records, Criminal Law Enforcement Division investigation files, and DPS Training Academy records before they can be accessed for research.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Digitized records are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas Department of Public Safety records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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