Texas State Police

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The Texas State Police were formed during the administration of Texas Governor Edmund J. Davis on July 22, 1870, to combat crime associated with Reconstruction statewide in Texas. It worked primarily against racially based crimes, and included black police officers, which caused howls of protest from former slave owners (and future segregationists). Davis also created the "State Guard of Texas" and the "Reserve Militia", which were forerunners of the Texas National Guard. It was dissolved by order of the legislature on April 22, 1873.


Among its members were Sheriff Jack Helm of DeWitt County, Texas, who served as a captain. He was later killed by John Wesley Hardin during the Sutton–Taylor feud. Another notable member was Leander H. McNelly of the Texas Ranger Division. Outlaw William P. Longley claimed to have killed members of the Texas State Police, some in the period 1866–1869 (before it even came into existence).

Despite the success of the state police, the fact that the force employed African Americans and was controlled by Governor Davis made it unpopular. Some of the state police members certainly deserved criticism. Captain Jack Helm, for instance, was accused of murdering prisoners; he was fired, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Others committed crimes for which the charges were dropped as soon as headquarters was advised. James Davidson, the chief of the state police, embezzled $37,000 and disappeared.[when?][1]

In September 1870 Hill County, Texas local citizens refused to cooperate with the TSP from moving against the Kinch West gang;[2] in December 1870 Hill County citizens blocked the TSP from arresting the killers of an African-American couple.[3]


On April 22, 1873, the law authorizing the state police was repealed. Former policeman Leander H. McNelly and at least thirty-six other state police members became Texas Rangers.

Of ten members of the TSP known to have been killed in the line of duty, four members died as a result of a shootout on March 14, 1873. Two others (Privates Jim Smalley and Green Paramore) were killed by outlaw John Wesley Hardin in 1871.

The Texas State Police was abolished in 1873, but in 1935, the Texas Department of Public Safety was formed to serve as the state police force (the TDPS predecessor was the Texas Ranger Division formed by the Texas Legislature as McNelly's "Special Force of Rangers" and the "Frontier Battalion" in July 1874). Other state agencies, including the Texas Attorney General's Office, Texas Parks & Wildlife, and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, also provide state police services within their areas of responsibility. Today, no agency is formally named Texas State Police, primarily because of the "Yankee" correlation and connotation that the misnomer represents. The Texas Rangers stand as the lone agency in defense of corruption, bribery, and "one riot; one Ranger" attitude.

Fallen officers[edit]

During the tenure of the Texas State Police, 10 officers died in the line of duty.[4]

Officer Date of death Details
Private Jim Smalley[5]
Sunday, January 22, 1871
Private General Bell[6]
Saturday, February 25, 1871
Private Robert Steen[7]
Thursday, April 27, 1871
Private August Werner[8]
Monday, August 14, 1871
Special Police Officer Green Paramore[9]
Friday, October 6, 1871
Private John Americas Stewart[10]
Thursday, May 16, 1872
Private Wesley Cherry[11]
Friday, March 14, 1873
Captain Thomas G. Williams[12]
Friday, March 14, 1873
Private James M. Daniels[13]
Friday, March 14, 1873
Private Andrew Melville[14]
Thursday, April 10, 1873

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Handbook of Texas". Tshaonline.org. 1974-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  2. ^ "Kinch West". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  3. ^ "Handbook of Texas online". Tshaonline.org. 1929-05-28. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  4. ^ "The Officer Down Memorial Page". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  5. ^ "Private Jim Smalley". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  6. ^ "Private General Bell". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  7. ^ "Private Robert Steen". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  8. ^ "Private August Werner". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  9. ^ "Special Police Officer Green Paramore". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  10. ^ "Private John Americas Stewart". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  11. ^ "Private Wesley Cherry". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  12. ^ "Captain Thomas G. Williams". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  13. ^ "Private James M. Daniels". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  14. ^ "Private Andrew Melville". Odmp.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13.