FRONTIER BATTALION AND SPECIAL RANGER FORCE
The six Ranger Companies, known as the Frontier Battalion, served primarily in the protection of the settlers from hostile Indians until 1881, when the last Indian battle was fought at the Diablo Mountains in far west regions of Texas. The Special Ranger Force was assigned the task of restoring law and order. The Special Ranger Force existed until 1881, and the Frontier Battalion existed until 1901. In 1901, the Texas Legislature reorganized the Frontier Battalion into the Texas Ranger Force. The Texas Rangers were divided into four companies; each company consisted of twenty men.
With the reorganization of these companies, a new role of responsibility faced the Texas Rangers. The hostile Indian and the routine outlaw became a legend of the past. Texas was becoming modern and with the modern trend the Rangers were faced with new and different problems. Trouble erupted in Mexico and extended into Texas. Many new inventions came into view: the prohibition act, the oilfield boom, and the ever changing criminal techniques were all part of the new problems that faced the Texas Rangers.
THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN RANGER
In 1935, 112 years to the very month that the Texas Rangers were first organized, the Forty-Fourth Texas Legislature created the Department of Public Safety. The Texas Rangers, who had been shifted some years before to the Adjutant General’s Department, was made a part of the Department of Public Safety. As a result of this legislature, the official name of the Texas Rangers was assigned to this long time law enforcement organization. The Texas Rangers were created by the Texas Legislature which set forth organizational limits and the legislature retained the sole power to alter the organizational structure of the Rangers.
The newly created Rangers were formed into six companies, lettered from “A to F”, and commanded by a captain. Since 1935, the Rangers have experienced little change as compared to the changes undergone during prior years; only those changes to keep pace with the changing times have been implemented. The basic organizational structure as well as the vested authority of the Rangers has remained relatively unchanged but since 911 the Texas Ranger has begun to undergo change assuming homeland security responsibilities. A Texas Ranger was given the same authority of any other peace officer but no special authority except jurisdiction which extends to all parts of Texas. At some point, the Texas Rangers were given special authority to make arrests when the offender was traveling on a railroad, in a motor vehicle, in an airplane, or in a boat but this authority has since been repealed. The Texas Rangers have the same power as a sheriff to execute civil process.
The seventies found the DPS faced with a wave of technological progress and unprecedented growth that has continued into the nineties. The growth was predictable since Texas was growing in business and technology.
The modern Ranger has risen to the challenge and has accepted the tradition expectation to be the very best. Rangers are better trained, and educated then ever before in the history. Even though their number has just reached just over the 144 mark, they still fall way short of one Ranger for each of the 254 counties in Texas. Yet, with the reputation of “One riot, one Ranger,” the Rangers don’t seem to need a massive group to accomplish their mission and maintain their reputation.
In 1991, the Texas Rangers were formally reorganized as a division in DPS and the Senior Ranger Captain (Chief) reports directly to the Directory of DPS. In 1993, this reorganization recognized the Texas Rangers as a major division in the DPS and was formally adopted into law.
The Texas Ranger Division is a major division within the Texas Department of Public Safety with lead criminal investigative responsibility for the following: major incident crime investigations, unsolved crime/serial crime investigations, public corruption investigations, officer involved shooting investigations, and border security operations. The Texas Ranger Division is comprised of 234 full time employees; including 166 commissioned Rangers and 68 support personnel; including administrative staff, Border Security Operations Center, Joint Operations and Intelligence Centers, and the Special Weapons and Tactics team.
Company headquarters are located in eight geographical locations. Houston is the headquarters for Company A, Garland is the headquarters for Company B, Lubbock is the headquarters for Company C, San Antonio is the headquarters for Company D, Midland is the headquarters for Company E, and Waco is the headquarters for Company F, McAllen is the headquarters for Company G, and El Paso is the headquarters for Company K. Many think that Waco is the state-wide headquarters since the Ranger hall of fame is located in that city. The state wide headquarters, however, is located in Austin, Texas, at the Texas Department of Public Safety Headquarters (DPS), 5805 North Lamar Boulevard.
The modern Texas Ranger dresses in civilian clothes and is recognized by his western hat and western boots. Badges, still made from a Mexican coin, can be seen pinned to a Ranger’s shirt above the left pocket. Their duties vary by assignment, but Rangers generally have criminal investigative responsibilities supporting local law enforcement.