Texas Sets New Standard with Civilian Interaction Training (TCOLE) #30418 Course

By Loretta Tarlov, Texas Star Reporter | Fri, 27 Jul 2018

In the wake of Sandra Bland’s in custody death in 2015, the Texas Legislature has taken action to educate the driving public and peace officers in a first of a kind Civilian Interaction Training program in the United States.

enroll_buttonTo refresh your memory, Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old woman who was pulled over for a traffic violation on July 10, 2015, by Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia. The interaction escalated, resulting in Bland’s arrest and charges for assaulting a police officer. The arrest was partially recorded by trooper Encinia’s dashcam and a bystander’s cell phone. After authorities reviewed the dashcam footage, Encinia was placed on administrative leave for failing to follow traffic stop procedures and was later dismissed from the force and for making a false statement. While awaiting an appearance before a magistrate, Bland committed suicide in the Waller County jail. Her autopsy revealed she had a very large concentration of THC in her system and according to her Facebook post she had “a little bit of depression as well as PTSD.”

Referred to as the Community Safety Education Act, Texas Senate Bill 30, requires school districts, charter schools for students 9 through 12 to be educated on how to conduct themselves when stopped by the police. At the same time, all Texas Peace Officers will be receiving additional training on interactions with the driving public. Mandated topics for both residents and officers include the role of law enforcement, proper behavior for civilians and peace officer during a traffic stop, individual rights, requirements to show proof of identification and much more.

The Civilian Interaction Training #30418 (TCOLE) course is a required course to be completed no later than the second anniversary of the date the officer is licensed unless the officer completes the training as part of the officer’s basic training. A peace officer or reserve law enforcement officer who holds a license under Chapter 1701, Occupations Code, issued on or before January 1, 2018, shall complete a training program established under Section 1701.268, Occupations Code, as added by this Act, not later than January 1, 2020. As part of this curriculum, officers receive refresher training on the Texas 7-Step Traffic Stop process, which is recognized and utilized by many enforcement agencies throughout the U.S.

We spoke with David Salmon, the Training Coordinator of OSS Academy in Spring, Texas, who trains police and deputies for the TCOLE throughout the state. In response to our questions, he confirmed this first-of-a-kind course and discussed the potential impact on our society. Salmon said, “… we have seen course requirements for police officers that have hundreds of hours in traffic stops, but never before in any state where peace officers and drivers alike will be receiving much of the same training. This will go a long way to increasing driver-officer cooperation which should be an easy administrative process.” When asked directly about the Sanda Bland traffic stop, David responded, “It is important to remember that cooperation in any endeavor, especially a traffic stop, requires thoughtful participation by both the driver and officers. Texas highways will be safer by improving officer-driver interactions.

Texas officers can now complete this course online at OSS Academy. Visit www.ossfirst.com  or Civilian Interaction Training #30418 (TCOLE). If you have any questions, contact our Training Coordinator at 281-288-9190 (Ext. 205).

You can also view OSS Academy’s entire TCOLE Course Listing.