I briefly mentioned that there are a couple of bills working their way through the Lege that would allow big-city police forces to do wiretaps, instead of having to go through the Department of Public Safety. Grits explains why this is a wasteful boondoggle:
[A]ccording to wiretapping statistics reported annually to the Department of Justice, four of these six departments did not engage in a single wiretap between 1998 and 2005, the last year for which statistics are available. In no year did Texas judges approve more than five wiretaps, and a couple of years none were authorized in the entire state!
So why should local taxpayers in these six cities pay for training and equipment when wiretapping is so rarely used in Texas? Right now the Department of Public Safety manages all wiretaps statewide, and given the low volume involved - and the fact that most big city PDs aren't using wiretaps - it doesn't make a lot of sense to create redundant capacity at these six agencies.