Houston Police Department officers stand in a courtroom Friday morning at the Texas County Justice Center after being sworn in as Texas County Sheriff's Department Deputies. Police officers from Licking and Houston took the oath of office from county circuit clerk Marci Mosley, giving them the ability to work outside city limits with the same authority as a sherrif's department officer. From left, patrolman Brad Evans, Sergeant Tim Ceplina, Chief Jim McNiell, patrolman Matt Woodmansee, patrolman Dustin Hartman, and Corporal David Kidwell.

Officers from the Houston and Licking police departments were sworn in as Texas County Sheriff’s Department deputies Friday morning in the Justice Center.

Joined by their cohorts from the sheriff’s department, officers from the two police agencies took the oath of office from Texas County circuit clerk Marci Mosely, giving them the ability to operate outside city limits with the same authority as a sheriff’s officer.

“We are sometimes asked to do some things outside city limits and there are some streets in Houston that go past the city limit,” Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell said. “This gives us the chance to go into those kinds of areas and have the authority we might need.”

McNiell said the move will also allow police to be more involved in cases that require extra manpower — like manhunts — and offer services when sickness or other factors leave the sheriff’s department short-handed.

“We won’t be abusing this,” McNiell said. “Our main focus and priority will continue to be the City of Houston.”

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