New Texas senate bill educates officers and civilians

SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) -- This past summer, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Texas Senate Bill 30 that focuses on teaching new drivers and peace officers how to communicate with each other.

"And that's reinforced when they go into the FTL program," Sgt. D.M. Hampton said. "They end up learning how and a lot of it unfortunately sometimes is just kind of trial and error because we just don't know who that person is that is behind the wheel and what we may run into."

In order to hold on to their peace officer's license, officers have to have 40 hours of training every two years.

Education can help civilians understand what's going through officer's minds during a traffic stop.

"Their behavior may trigger something in our training," Sgt. Hampton said. "A perfect example is that placing your hands in your pockets. What we're trained as police officers as that hands kill."

When speaking to residents in Texoma about the bill, it was seen as a positive.

"It'll help drivers know what to expect when a peace officer pulls them over and hopefully it'll make it safer for the peace officers as well," resident Jerry Bach said.

"Well I don't think it could hurt anything," resident Nomin Dickey said. "You know anytime people can get together and talk, visit, work it out, it's better than shooting and fighting."

And residents have never had a bad experience when speaking to officers.

"Police officers were very courteous, very professional," Bach said. "I found that I was very comfortable with it."

"I've been pulled over several times for speeding and the officers have always been nice to me," Dickey said.

This educational time for both new drivers and peace officers will hopefully improve relationships.

"A lot of times as peace officers, we forget what it's like for someone to be pulled over," Sgt. Hampton said. "It's a two way street. It's very important the communication and people need to know their rights when it comes to dealing with us as well."

The bill goes into effect on Friday.