Proposition 4 Would Fund DPS Crime Labs, Driving Track - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/22/07

Proposition 4 Would Fund DPS Crime Labs, Driving Track

Sixteen constitutional amendments will appear on the November 6 ballot, including Proposition 4, which would authorize up to $1 billion in bonds to pay for maintenance, improvement, repair and construction projects for nine state agencies.

The Proposition 4 ballot language reads, "The constitutional amendment authorizing the issuance of up to $1 billion in bonds payable from the general revenues of the state for maintenance, improvement, repair, and construction projects and for the purchase of needed equipment."

Proposition 4 would provide up to $200 million for 2008-2009 for the Texas Department of Public Safety to pay for new and expanded crime labs serving law enforcement across Texas. These lab expansions would speed up turnaround time for evidence analysis and prepare for caseload growth in the future. Most DPS crime labs are close to 30 years old‑‑with caseloads now up to eight times their original scope.

Proposition 4 also would fund a new Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (driving track) facility in Williamson County. The facility would have driving training areas, classrooms and driving simulators to serve all Texas law enforcement agencies on a scheduled basis.

Lubbock Crime Lab and Regional Office: $36.6 million to expand and improve the crime lab, expand the driver license office and parking and address overcrowding issues as part of a 97,000-square-foot DPS Regional Headquarters.

Other DPS projects covered under Proposition 4:

  • Houston Crime Lab (Harris County): $19.1 million to expand and improve the crime lab.
  • Corpus Christi Crime Lab (Nueces County): $10 million to expand and improve the crime lab.
  • Hidalgo County Crime Lab and Regional Office: $43.8 million to improve the crime lab's capacity and efficiency, expand the driver license office and parking, and accommodate growth for border security as part of a 105,000-square foot DPS Regional Headquarters.
  • Rio Grande City, Starr County: $4.5 million to build a new area office for DPS commissioned officers.
  • Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, Williamson County: $49.7 million to build a driving track facility. When training new troopers, the DPS Training Academy does not have a driving facility and must borrow open spaces, such as parking lots, for driver training. The new driver training facility will replicate conditions law enforcement officers face on the job, including high-speed chases, skids and off-road driving. It will also include classrooms and driving simulators and have enough space to allow multiple students to be taught at one time.
  • Austin Crime Lab: $28.7 million to expand and improve the crime lab.
  • Abilene Crime Lab, Taylor County: $2.9 million to expand and improve the crime lab.
  • El Paso Crime Lab, El Paso County: $6.4 million to expand and improve the crime lab.
  • Tyler Crime Lab, Tyler, Smith County: $6.8 million to expand and improve the crime lab.

Bonds like those in Proposition 4 are like low-interest loans. The government sells bonds to investors, then pays them back with interest over time. Bonds are often used to fund deferred maintenance, which can prevent higher costs in the future.

Other agencies included in Proposition 4 are Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Historical Commission, the Department of State Health Services, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Texas Youth Commission, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Texas Facilities Commission and the Adjutant General's Department.

For more information about Proposition 4, (click here).

Decision 2007 Election Coverage
Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments, November 6, 2007
For a comprehensive break down of each proposition.

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