ASK A COP — What is allowed with a citizen’s arrest?

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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Carol from Port Arthur asks: My husband and I started discussing citizen arrests in the state of Texas. Neither of us could factually give details about what allows a citizen the power of arrest. Could you please clear up what is a citizen’s arrest and when a citizen can arrest.

Officer Rickey Antoine

Answer: Everybody is fully aware of the power of arrest that is entrusted in police officers in the state of Texas, but the state of Texas also empowers ANY person to arrest WITHOUT a warrant. These arrests by ANY person only pertain to felonies  committed in their presence or any crime against public peace. So this tells anyone who may desire to affect a citizen’s arrest that they need to abreast themselves with the felony and misdemeanor offenses in the state of Texas. A very important element to the power of arrest by citizen is “it MUST be witnessed by the person affecting the citizen’s arrest.” In my opinion, citizen arrests should NOT be a practice non peace officers are striving to conduct.

Due to the unpredictable and violent nature of most felonies and offenses against the public peace, it would probably be in the best interest to be “A GOOD WITNESS” than to actually get involved and attempt to apprehend a suspect. Suspects daily push, assault, hit, run from, cut, stab, shoot, the highest form of law enforcement in our state — uniformed police officers. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what they would do to a citizen who tries to apprehend or stop their escape after committing a felonious crime. Don’t get me wrong, your Port Arthur Police Department and all of our surrounding law enforcement agencies are thrilled that we have brave citizens who would step up to assist. But we would rather you and others be SAFE and give a detailed description of the actor(s)/suspect(s), like clothing, race, sex, vehicle description, direction of travel and what CRIME(S) you observed! Now, if someone should happen to affect a citizen’s arrest, they should attempt to restrain/detain and hold them without using excessive force until police officers arrive.

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Darryl from Port Arthur asks: As I travel along the shopping center where Walmart, Lowe’s, and Academy is, I’ve noticed several stop signs are not quite legible. I’ve always thought stop signs were supposed to be highly visible. The lettering on the stop sign is hard to make out, so if I don’t stop for the stop sign, can I receive a ticket for that? If a crash occurs, can I be held at fault for NOT stopping for a white stop sign if its supposed to be visibly RED?

Answer: I thank you for bringing this stop sign concern in the Lowe’s parking lot area to my attention. It’s my belief, as well, that stop signs are supposed to be RED. You are correct. there are several “stop signs” that used to be red and due to the elements of weather, some my not be legible. A police officer can NOT cite (ticket) you for running a RED stop sign on private property, much less for running a non legible stop sign. A non legible sign is NOT a stop sign. Of course, it has the correct shape but the wrong color, that would be equivalent to having a white stop light.

Here is a list of signage in Texas that we can all benefit from: Warning Signs are Yellow and orange, Usually diamonds, pentagons and round signs Indicate unexpected conditions or changes Regulatory Signs are Red, black and white, Usually triangles, octagons and vertical rectangles, Display traffic laws- Signs That Guide are Green, blue and brown, Usually horizontal rectangles, Provide helpful or interesting information. I will contact management of the property and advise them of their need for them to get these signs replaced before someone walking gets injured or vehicles sustain property damage from a collision. Thanks for being part of the motoring solution in Southeast Texas.

Tina from Lake Charles asks: I commute from Lake Charles to Port Arthur daily, but I’m thinking about relocating to Port Arthur. What do I need to do to get a Texas Driver’s License? I hope I don’t have to take the driving part over, because I’m so beyond that. Help!

Answer: Welcome to Port Arthur! We hope you can move here or to any of the surrounding communities., I’ll put your heart at ease and let you know you will NOT have to retake the behind-the-wheel portion to be issued a Texas Driver’s License. If you currently have an unexpired out-of-state license, you will need to go to the Department of Public Safety office and apply for a Texas license. It’s important to remember Texas allows a new out-of-state resident up to 90 days to get a Texas Driver’s License. You will need to bring your proof of residency, social security card, Texas registration for vehicles and proof of insurance. Once you are a Texan, the clock starts ticking and you have 90 days.

Join Me, Officer Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man”Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and beyond. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. You can also email questions to or leave a voicemail at 409-983-8673. Mail them to Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always “Ask A Cop!”