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Non-Criminal Emergency Calls: How Texas Officers Should Respond to Civil Disputes

Updated on October 31, 2012

The State Bar of Texas and the Texas Young Lawyers’ Association (TYLA) regularly provide the public with free resources regarding a wide range of legal matters. TYLA’s latest project is called Remaining Civil: A Guide to Non-Criminal Disputes . It is a two-part project designed to assist law enforcement officers with how to handle non-criminal calls and educate civilians about legal remedies. The project highlights the difference between civil and criminal issues and provides officers with guidance on how to handle civil dispute calls such as eviction, animal control, and custody. By explaining the limits of an officer’s authority in civil matters, and outlining the proper course of action to obtain civil remedies, Remaining Civil provides the public with a better understanding of non-criminal emergency calls.

Part 1: Training

The first part consists of a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education training program that educates officers about the difference between civil and criminal cases. The civil issues addressed in part one include lost or abandoned property, repossession of vehicles, animal issues, consumer complaints, mental illness, restraining or protective orders, custody disputes, and landlord-tenant disputes.

Part 2: Guide

The second part is a guide that officers can provide citizens when they respond to a non-criminal call. The guide explains the availability of civil remedies that arise from emergency calls, and helps victims understand the consequences and benefits of pursuing such remedies. It is meant to assist the citizen with handling their civil dispute by contacting the appropriate person or agency.

This TYLA project is free and can be used by officers and the public alike. It is an invaluable source of information about Texas legal rights and remedies. For more information please contact TYLA via email at


The information in this article is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create, and viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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    • Blawger profile imageAUTHOR

      Bahin Ameri 

      6 years ago from California

      I wish they would. Unfortunately, most law enforcement agencies don't even know such programs exist. That's the main reason why I posted this hub. Once again, thank you for reading and commenting. Your opinions are always welcome!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I think this training should be reviewed yearly with all law enforcement. It's something that they should know: how to help the citizen and not to profile them as a criminal. Great hub post!

    • Blawger profile imageAUTHOR

      Bahin Ameri 

      6 years ago from California

      You are so right. In fact, their misunderstanding has been the source of many complaints against law enforcement in Texas. Hopefully other states will take notice of what the Texas Bar is doing and provide their citizens and law enforcement with a similar program. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Your support is sincerely appreciated.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 

      6 years ago from Long Island, New York

      I hope the wisdom of this program isn't limited to Texas. Many cops don't understand the dividing line between civil and criminal and therefore have a hard time explaining it to people. Voted up and interesting.


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