4/19/2012 12:00 AM
NOTE: 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the beginnings of formal law enforcement extension training in Texas. The anniversary is being commemorated by the TEEX Public Safety & Security division, which continues to conduct extension law enforcement training across the state and operates the Central Texas Police Academy.
It was 1942, and the United States was in the midst of World War II. The current Texas A&M Riverside Campus, then called the Bryan Air Base, was an active military installation. Nearby, on the Texas A&M University campus, officials in the Industrial Extension Training Service were discussing ways to meet the need for extension training of law enforcement officers in Texas.
As a result, the Department of Industrial Education began the Texas law enforcement extension training program with the help of two adjunct instructors, Wallace Beasley and Vernon Ingberg. The instructors were responsible for all statewide operational activities that first year, and trained several hundred law enforcement professionals through seminars and short courses held on the Texas A&M campus and delivered across the state. The following year, Beasley became the sole law enforcement trainer and continued the statewide program by delivering two classes per day for sponsoring police agencies.
In 1948, the Industrial Extension Service evolved into the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a state agency charged with providing occupational and technical extension training, and a member of the newly created Texas A&M University System. During that same year, a group of chief administrators responsible for police agencies across the state met in Houston. During that meeting, the law enforcement extension program got a boost when they recommended that the courses delivered through TEEX be adopted as the training standard for all Texas municipalities.
Four years later, in 1952, the Texas Advisory Committee for Police Training asked TEEX, which operated the extension police training program, to develop a more comprehensive course to be delivered on the Texas A&M campus. Under the leadership of Beasley, who had become the first Division Head of the Law Enforcement Extension Training Program, and with assistance from other municipal and state departmental training directors, TEEX established the first Texas Municipal Police School. The initial school was delivered the following year at the YMCA building on the Texas A&M campus and consisted of 140 hours of basic training for new police officers. This was the beginning of what is now known as the Central Texas Police Academy.
Additional instructors were added over the next several years and other new programs were developed. In 1955, Industrial Plant Protection courses were offered followed by the first Police-Community Relations Institute in 1958. Not only did TEEX develop the first Justice of the Peace and Constables training curriculum in 1961, the agency also established a well-known Polygraph Examiners School, the only school of its kind in the nation affiliated with a state university.
Beasley retired from the program on Aug. 31, 1967, and became the first Executive Director of a fledging organization named the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). Over his 25-year tenure, he helped build a solid foundation for law enforcement training that continues today at TEEX.
"Who could have known in 1942 when the Texas Law Enforcement Extension program was originally established, the agency known today as TEEX would have played such a significant role in establishing training standards necessary to ensure public safety for the citizens of Texas, and would still serve as best practices in use by law enforcement professionals today," said PS&S Division Director Tom Shehan.