SB 308 Campus Police: Same as City Police

By: Hugo Sanchez *

This blog is part of our 60 Laws in 60 Minutes update to the SHSU community.

During the 84th session of the Texas Legislature, Senate Bill 308 was passed.

This bill relates to the powers and duties of campus police departments at private institutions of higher education.

State law allows a private university to create and operate campus police departments that are
licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and by law have all the authority and
powers vested in Texas peace officers. Recent events have been documented of these private
university campus police declining to produce records of arrest and documents related to those
arrests that a public police department would under the Texas Open Records Act as a
government entity. In declining to produce the records requested by media, public individuals
and even legislative offices, these campus police departments cited that they are not a
government entity and are not subject to the Texas Open Records Act, even though they are
licensed by the State of Texas and vested with
peace officer powers on and off their private
university property. In fact at least two of these major events where records were sought
occurred on public property not near the campus property.
S.B. 308 corrects this oversight and places the private university campus police departments as a
government entity that is subject to the Texas Open Records Act and requires them to be subject
to request for information as any other public governmental police agency.

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