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Automobile Thefts - A Police Training Aid (c. 1953)

Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum and Research Center

Sound | c. 1953

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  •  Cars are parked in front of the Austin Public Library, now the Austin History Center 
  •  Col. Homer Garrison, Jr. 
  •  Visible in the background is the Burnet Drive-in. It's still there today, but used as a mini-storage place. 
  •  Allendale Village Shopping Center, corner of Burnet and Koenig, Austin, TX 
  •  Frank Bland, Retired Communications Inspector, Texas DPS 
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This film was produced by the National Automobile Theft Bureau in conjunction with the Texas Department of Public Safety. This film serves law enforcement officers as a training aid, furthering the development of more effective practices for combating car thieves. Topics covered include car theft statistics, common auto-stealing techniques, how to handle a call reporting a stolen vehicle, and how to spot a stolen car. Homer Garrison Jr., the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, introduces the film and stress the importance of effectively handling automobile thefts. Glen McLaughlin, Chief of the Bureau of Identification and Records for the Texas Department of Public Safety, is co-credited as director.

Established by the Texas Legislature on August 10, 1935, the Texas Department of Public Safety was created by the consolidation of the Texas Highway Motor Patrol with the Texas Rangers. Since that time, its duties have grown to include such activities as the state licensing of drivers, vehicle inspection, narcotics enforcement, and the State Civil Defense Office, (now the Division of Emergency Management,) which aids local governments during times of natural disaster or social upheaval. While its duties have evolved over time, the mission of the DPS has remained constant - to provide public safety services to those people in the state of Texas by enforcing laws, administering regulatory programs, managing records, educating the public, and managing emergencies, both directly and through interaction with other agencies.

Colonel Homer Garrison Jr.'s lifelong Texas law enforcement career began at age 19 (shortly after graduating from Lufkin High School), when he was appointed deputy sheriff of Angelina County. In 1930, he joined the newly forming Texas Highway Patrol. When the Texas Highway Patrol became part of the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1935, Col. Garrison became the new agency's first assistant director. In 1938, his role changed to director of the DPS and chief of the Texas Rangers, a position he held until his death in 1968. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum at Fort Fisher is named for him.