This article was written by a contributing author and is not meant to be taken as legal advice or otherwise. Kindly contact us if you have any suggestions to improve this article here.
Everyone with a television in the United States has heard of the Texas Rangers. Most people know about them because of Chuck Norris and his television series, “Walker, Texas Ranger”. Many think of the “Lone Ranger”, and associate that character with the infamous law enforcement agency. In truth, the Texas Rangers have become the elite of the elite when talking about law enforcement. Even the FBI and Secret Service can’t compare with the raw energy of the Rangers.
Who Are the Texas Rangers?
The Texas Rangers are considered one of the most influential law enforcement agencies in America. To be a Texas Ranger, you must be willing to go where others will not and take on the tasks that others won’t. They are an extremely tight-knit group of law enforcement officers who continually strive to be the most efficient, most effective, and very best at everything they attempt. If you want to become a member of this very elite group of men and women, you must be prepared to work hard and give everything you have to the effort.
A Long and Very Rich History
Stephen F. Austin created a law enforcement agency consisting of ten officers and paid for them out of his own pocket. The goal was to provide the area with support the Mexican government could not. In 1823, the Texas Rangers were established in the state of Texas. After the Mexican War, they were sanctioned by the United States government. Their job was to protect settlers from Native American attacks, patrol the frontier, and bring thieves and wranglers to justice. They are an integral part of Texas history but are known throughout the country for their bravery and resiliency.
Just like any other law enforcement agency, there are basic requirements that must be met before you can join the ranks of this prestigious group of Rangers. This short list of requirements lays the groundwork that allows an applicant to build a solid, long-lasting career as a Texas Ranger.
- United States citizen – Must be able to prove United States citizenship.
- Excellent physical and mental health – Must be able to pass a physical examination and exhibit mental clarity.
- 8 years of experience in criminal investigations or as a law enforcement officer
- Employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Texas State Trooper II rank or higher
To join this exceptional and incredibly small force, you must push past your boundaries and prove yourself worthy of the Ranger badge. With less than 170 Rangers to serve over 30 million people throughout Texas. When you apply for an open position with the Rangers, be prepared to compete with 100 or more applicants who also want to earn the distinction of becoming a Texas Ranger.
- Be able to work independently – Rangers must be able to evaluate and handle any situation without instructions from a supervisor. One Texas Ranger, Bill McDonald said, “One riot, one ranger.”
- Exceptional work ethic – In order to be considered a Ranger, an applicant must be able to prove an exceptional work ethic during their time as a Texas DPS Trooper II (or higher rank). They must provide exemplary service in every possible way as a law enforcement officer and citizen.
- Ace both the written and oral examinations – The written and oral board examinations are some of the most competitive law enforcement entrance exams. If you expect to be considered for any open position within the ranks of the Texas Rangers, you need to produce exceptionally high scores on both oral and written exams.
- Be committed to your oath – Most Texas Rangers choose this career because they want to make the world a better, much safer place. They are motivated by the ultimate goal of helping others and providing a safe, community environment. They will always go the extra mile because they are driven to live up to the commitment they have made to serve.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Texas Ranger
Texas Rangers have many responsibilities over and above investigating crimes. Investigations are the primary function of all rangers, no matter their rank or number of years on the force. They investigate missing persons, all types of abductions, and work to identify bodies that have been discovered. Rangers who are artistic may be used to produce sketches of missing persons or possible suspects.
Rangers have the task of investigating possible organized crimes as well as any white-collar crimes as well. This includes bank and insurance fraud, forgery, and types of administrative conduct. Texas Rangers provide protection to public officials and will also ensure that order is maintained in courtrooms during high-profile trials.
Salary and Expected Employment Outlook
Texas Department of Public Safety and highway patrol officers make approximately $60,000 per year while they are on probation. When they reach the rank of Trooper I, their salary can increase to $73,000 or more. Once they have been a trooper for 20 years or longer, they may be able to earn close to $107,000 a year.
Because the Texas Rangers have a higher level of experience and are required to perform at a higher level of expectation, they earn more than the standard pay for Troopers. Aside from their salary being higher, Texas Rangers receive the same types of benefits as other law enforcement officers throughout the state, including DPS troopers.
Education, Training, and Required Certification
Since Texas State Troopers and Texas Rangers work for the Department of Public Safety, the minimum requirements for education and training are the same. The reason for this is simple. In order to become a Texas Ranger, the applicant must first work as a Texas state trooper.
90 college credits or at least three years of service in law enforcement or the military is required to become a Texas Ranger. Many Rangers have earned criminal justice or other degrees involving criminal behavior, forensics, and investigative practices.
In order to even apply to be a Texas Ranger, an applicant must have at least eight years of experience in a law enforcement agency or other types of organization that investigates criminal activity and behaviors. This type of experience gives them the foundation to continue to build all future skills on.
Applicants must exhibit exceptional character, high morals, and positive habits. They must be able to successfully pass both written and oral examinations. Once they become Rangers, they must sit through 40 hours of training (in-service) every two years. There are other training options available, such as that required to become a member of the Special Response Team or the Ranger Reconnaissance Team.
Skills and Abilities Required for Texas Rangers
There are many skills and abilities that Texas Rangers must have in order to meet the high standards associated with their job as law enforcement officers. These skills are not just necessary, they are required if a Ranger is expected to be effective at performing their duties.
- Communicate effectively – Rangers must be able to communicate effectively with the public and other law enforcement officers in both spoken and written form.
- Have empathy for those they serve – Rangers must be able to empathize with those they serve.
- Physical endurance and stamina – Rangers must have the physical and mental endurance to handle any situation they find themselves in.
- Exceptional judgment – Texas Rangers must exhibit exceptional judgment and be able to find solutions to any issue they are faced with at any given moment.
- Positive skills for leadership and guidance – Rangers must be able to lead others in resolving various situations and dealing with different types of emergencies.
- Enhanced perception – Rangers must be able to understand specific behaviors and anticipate how a person may react when placed in different situations.
Work Environment of a Texas Ranger
There are six field officers that Texas Rangers use. They are located in:
- San Antonio
- El Paso
- Rio Grande Valley/McAllen
- Garland (Dallas/Fort Worth)
The work environment for any Texas Ranger is their location at the time they are doing their job. While they are based out of a field office, much of their work is performed in the field. They are fully mobile and are able to perform their duties in almost any type of environment under a variety of conditions. Their ability to perform their duties in the most stressful and dangerous situations makes them the toughest law enforcement officers available.