Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Ft. Worth & Tarrant County enforce the Criminal Trespass Law




I have a file with 10+ "Ft. Worth Police Department Trespass Warnings." A form the police must complete the first time that they find someone trespassing on private property. According to the FWPD, the officer must physically see & hear the property owner tell the offender to not come on the property, even if the person is on the property and owner calls the police. The FWPD says that this is what the Tarrant County District Attorney's office wants done in order to prosecute a criminal trespass case should it ever go to court. The only way anyone can ever be taken to jail for trespassing in Ft. Worth is if they have received a written trespass warning at said property previously to the second offense at said property.

The State of Texas Criminal Trespass Laws reads like this:

"§ 30.05. CRIMINAL TRESPASS. (a) A person commits an offense if he enters or remains on or in property, including an aircraft or other vehicle, of another without effective consent or he enters or remains in a building of another without effective consent and he:

(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Entry" means the intrusion of the entire body.
(2) "Notice" means:
(A) oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner; (B) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock (C) a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden; (D) the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property, provided that the marks are:..."

I called the other morning because of the guy you see in the picture sleeping on my business property. The police come out, then walk over to me and say, "you need to come tell him that you don't want him on your property." I refused. A few of us have had so many meetings with City Officials, including Council member for my district, Kathleen Hicks, Homeless Coordinator, Otis Thornton, Captain Sudan (who has been moved to another Police District), Captain Billy Cordell and others. I have also emailed and met with County prosecutors and communicated with DA's office concerning this issue. We have been told so many times that all has been worked out and it is no longer required that property owners face the offenders and say anything!! However, due to the lack of effective communication w/in City Hall and up and down the ranks of the Fort Worth Police Department, this new standard operating procedure NEVER makes it to the officers working the beats/streets. I have emailed and sat in meetings until I am blue in the face. This is just another PERFECT example of our local City Government not working for the people! And people wonder WHY I am non-trusting and have little faith in Ft. Worth's Government. Put this one down as one reason why. Please.

1 comment:

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