The Department of Public Safety is warning Texans to be wary of any private charitable solicitations by telemarketers on behalf of the department.
“It should be absolutely clear that the Department of Public Safety will never solicit financial contributions from private citizens. DPS is funded by tax dollars and will never call your home or business to solicit donations,” said Steven C. McCraw, director of DPS.
DPS has received a number of complaints over the years from citizens complaining of rudeness and high pressure tactics being used by individuals using the good name and/or logo of the department and often times in conjunction with the untimely death of a state trooper.
Private organizations cannot use names, symbols or statements that are similar to those used by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers or other police agencies in a manner that is intended to confuse or mislead a person being solicited. Violations are criminal offenses and punishable by a fine of up to $4,000, a jail term up to one year, or both.
DPS advises citizens not to give money to these groups as the funds are not likely to go to the causes that are claimed. Some groups include in their names the terms, “Texas Rangers,” State Troopers,” “Texas Highway Patrol,” or “Department of Public Safety.”
While some current or former officers may be members of some of these associations on their own time, these organizations are not affiliated with the DPS nor do they represent the department. Many of these organizations provide only a small percent of their donations for good causes, with the majority of the donations going to administrative and operational purposes.
Some of these organizations suggest that official looking decals placed on personal vehicles that resemble official DPS affiliation may somehow keep the individual from receiving a traffic citation from law enforcement. There is also a lack of public accountability and transparency by many of these organizations.
If you are contacted by a group you believe is misrepresenting itself as part of the Texas Department of Public Safety, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-621-0508.
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