During the holidays, you may receive
fundraising calls from law enforcement associations. Over the years, the
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has received many questions and
complaints about fundraising by law enforcement associations. This article
answers some of your questions about these solicitations, and provides some
general pointers for when you receive fundraising calls.
the DPS solicit donations?
No. The DPS is funded by your tax dollars,
and does not solicit contributions
from private citizens. Law enforcement associations cannot imply that they
are part of the DPS, and cannot imply that the money they raise will go
to the DPS. Some organizations solicit funds using names similar to those
of the Texas Department of Public Safety, like “Texas Rangers,”
“Texas Highway Patrol,” or “Department of Public Safety.”
While some officers may be members of these associations on their own time,
these groups are not affiliated with the DPS.
The person who
called me said he was a peace officer …
Under the law, telemarketers
for public safety organizations cannot legally
imply that they are peace officers, unless they are. They cannot use names,
symbols, or statements that are similar to those used by the Texas Department
of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers, or other police agencies in a manner
that is intended to confuse or mislead a person being solicited. Breaking
this solicitation law is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up
to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. Civil penalties include a fine of
up to $2,500 for an individual violation and up to $10,000 for multiple
What if I am contacted by a questionable group?
you are contacted by a group you believe is misrepresenting itself as
part of the Texas Department of Public Safety, contact the Consumer Protection
Division of the Texas Attorney General’s office at (800)621-0508.
Keep the following in mind before giving money to any charitable
- Always request written information on the charity
asking you for money.
By law, telemarketers must provide the charity’s name, street address,
and phone number. They must also tell you the names and phone numbers of
the callers and their supervisors.
- Ask how your donation will be
distributed. How much will cover administrative
costs? How much will actually go to the program you wish to support?
- If the money is solicited by a professional fundraiser, ask how much
of your donation the fundraiser will keep.
- Call the charity to
ask whether the organization is aware of the solicitation
and has authorized the use of its name.
- Refuse to respond to high-pressure
appeals. Any legitimate charity will
be happy to wait to receive your donation if you decide to give.
with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and your local
Better Business Bureau to see whether any complaints about the charitable
organization have been filed.
- Check with the Texas Secretary of
State’s Office to see whether
the charity is registered and whether the solicitor is bonded.
Adapted from “Solicitation by Law Enforcement Agencies,”
prepared as a public service by the Texas Department of Public Safety. For
more information, visit www.txdps.state.tx.us or call (512)424-2080.
or call (800)621-0508.