Texas DPS to lay off 117 officers, eliminate another 60 positions

6:35 p.m Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 Texas News & Politics
The posting of colors by the DPS Color Guard at the start of the Texas Department of Public Safety annual Memorial Service to honor officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty at a cermony at DPS headquarters in Austin Tuesday morning May 16, 2017. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas Department of Public Safety officials announced Friday they have hired 97 new highway patrol officers even though earlier this week, they were approved to layoff 117 officers and eliminate another 60 positions.

First reported by KXAN, the public safety agency by May 31 will eliminate the so-called retire/rehire program, which allows retired officers to be rehired. Established in 2002 in a wake of a workforce shortage, the $15 million program allows the agency to retain highly experienced officers, who in return, get to draw a salary and be paid their monthly pension.

“This was a very difficult but necessary decision to address the budget cuts implemented during the 85th Legislative Session – which amounted to $50 million, 177 commissioned positions and 148 non-commissioned positions,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a memo.

Facing a shortfall in the 2018-2019 budget cycle, the state’s top three leaders — Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus — instructed state agencies to submit budget proposals with 4 percent cuts.

DPS had about 4,330 commissioned officer positions in fiscal year 2017.