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Law authorizing State Police repealed


On this day in 1873, the state legislature repealed the law authorizing the State Police. A response to the lawlessness and chaos that prevailed under Radical Republican rule during Reconstruction, the Police Act of July 1870 authorized a force of 257 men, though the force never had as many as 200 members. The fact that the force employed blacks and was controlled by Gov. Edmund J. Davis made it unpopular. Some members of the force certainly deserved criticism. Capt. Jack Helm, for instance, was accused of murdering prisoners. In 1872 James Davidson, the head of the force, embezzled $37,000 and disappeared. After repeal of the authorization law, Leander H. McNelly and at least thirty-six other State Police members became Texas Rangers.

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