In 1823, Stephen F. Austin informally created the Texas Rangers and headquartered the organization in Austin, Texas. They became the first statewide law enforcement organization in the United States and to this day the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement organization is recognized as the authorized crime fighters throughout Texas.
Although the TX Rangers have always upheld Texas laws some Rangers who wore the badge were regarded as criminals. Of the seventy-nine Rangers who lost their lives in the line of duty, most were killed between 1858 and 1901, the days of the Wild West. The Texas Enforcement officers have also assisted in capturing some of the most high profile and notorious criminals of past history, including Bonnie and Clyde, Wesley Hardin and the notorious bank robber Sam Bass.
The Rangers are an elite group of Texas Rangers Law Enforcement officers who apprehend felons and gather evidence and information related to organized crime. Many times they work in pairs with each pair handling various cases at one time. The Rangers do not wear definitive uniforms, however there are state enforced guidelines related to their western style of clothes and to the hats designed especially for them. They have had badges since the 1800’s however the famous “star and wheel” badge has been worn since 1962.
Texas Rangers officers are often requested to help contain crime in areas where local law enforcement agencies have been unable or unwilling to do so and they can, with the endorsement of the director, help fight corruption within the criminal justice system itself. When so ordered by a judge, Rangers can become officers of the court with the responsibility of protecting people and keeping order in the courtroom. Texas Rangers also carry out forensic investigations and provide security back-up for those responsible for the protection of government and other well-known dignitaries.
The organizational framework of the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement is made up of eight divisions with the headquarters of the company located in Austin and other offices are positioned around the state. Officially there are 136 Rangers and 24 civilians who work as support personnel and provisions have been made for up to 300 special Rangers who can be called in during a crises.
From their humble beginning until today Texas Rangers Law Enforcement organization is one of the most powerful and well respected law enforcement agencies in the United States as well as in Texas.