History

Top 10 Facts About the Texas Rangers That Just Might Surprise You

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Committing a crime in Texas has never been a good idea. Law enforcement in the Lone Star State has a history of being strict. One reason why Texas law enforcement has such a fearsome reputation is the Texas Rangers. Formed in 1823 (or 1835, depending on how you look at it), the Rangers are one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country.

Any organization that’s been around for hundreds of years has an eventful history. Do you know these ten facts about the Texas Rangers?

1. The Texas Rangers Were Originally Part-Time Employees.

You might think that any sort of law enforcement would be a full-time job, but Texas Rangers were originally only paid about 15 dollars a month. Also, the payment wasn’t in cash, but in property! That wasn’t enough money to live on, even back then. So, many Rangers took on other jobs, or farmed in order to pay the bills.

Many times, the Texas government didn’t even pay the Rangers the $15 per month they were owed. So being a Texas Ranger was essentially a volunteer job. At first, Rangers also provided their own equipment, including horses and guns.

2. Texas Rangers Have Always Been Multicultural.

Even when first established, the Rangers had Latino and Native American members, who varied in rank from private to captain. While most members were born in America, some also hailed from Europe, particularly Ireland, Germany, Scotland, and England.

3. The Texas Rangers Were One of the First Organizations to Carry Revolvers.

Top 10 Facts About the Texas Rangers That Just Might Surprise You

Photo: @fredhattonjr via Twenty20

When fighting Comanches on horseback, Texas Rangers found themselves at a disadvantage. The Ranger would be able to shoot once. Then they would need to dismount in order to reload their single-shot weapons. Meanwhile, the Comanches would shoot arrows continuously while riding on horseback.

So, Texas Rangers started carrying revolvers. A Ranger could get off five shots before needing to reload. Also, the Ranger wouldn’t need to get off his horse to reload. He could reload from horseback, while avoiding arrow shots.

4. Texas Rangers Have Prevented at Least One Presidential Assassination.

In 1909, US President William Howard Taft met with Mexican President Porfirio Diaz in El Paso, Texas. This meeting was the first-ever between the two presidents. Diaz was unpopular at the time, and malcontents from both countries threatened to kill both heads of state. The two presidents were to pass along a route that included the El Paso Chamber of Commerce.

A pistol-wielding man was waiting for the two presidents in front of the building. Apparently, he was going to ambush both men. Fortunately, a Texas Ranger noticed the pistol and arrested the man, saving both Taft and Diaz.

5. Texas Rangers are Internationally Known… and Feared.

Top 10 Facts About the Texas Rangers That Just Might Surprise You

Photo: @chrisfloresfoto via Twenty20

In World War II, the German press mistakenly reported that the Army Rangers landing in France were actually Texas Rangers! This caused quite a bit of panic among German civilians, due to the fearsome reputation of the Texas Rangers. Finally, the Reich’s Minister of Propaganda had to explain that the invaders were “only” Army Rangers.

The Texas Rangers helped protect the homefront during World War II and weren’t invading countries, except maybe during their free time.

6. Texas Rangers are NOT Allowed to Police Demonstrations or Other Types of Protest.

After some highly publicized incidents in the 1950s – 1970s, the Texas Ranger mission has changed. The agency focuses on investigation, crisis response, and border security. They no longer police demonstrations or handle prison riots.

7. There’s a Lot of Competition.

Top 10 Facts About the Texas Rangers That Just Might Surprise You

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To become a Texas Ranger, recruits need at least eight years of law enforcement experience. There are usually over 100 applicants for any open Texas Ranger position. Also, the Texas Rangers have never needed to recruit new members.

8. There is a Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame is in Waco, Texas, along with a museum. The Hall of Fame commemorates Rangers who died in the line of service, or who substantially contributed to the organization. The museum has many interesting exhibits, including Apache arrows and modern law enforcement equipment.

9. The Average Age of a Texas Ranger is About 44 years Old

Top 10 Facts About the Texas Rangers That Just Might Surprise You

Photo: @mreyz via Twenty20

While technically, a person can apply to be a Texas Ranger on their 21st birthday, Rangers tend to be a little older than the average police officer. Most likely, this is due to the eight years of law enforcement experience required by the position.

10. Chuck Norris is a Texas Ranger

Remember Walker, Texas Ranger? In this classic television show, Chuck Norris played a Texas Ranger, who tended to stop bad guys with his fists. It may not have been sophisticated, but it was a fun TV show.

But did you know that Chuck Norris is actually a Texas Ranger? It’s true. Because of the impact that the television show made on American culture, Chuck Norris was made an honorary Texas Ranger. Other celebrities who were made honorary Rangers include President George H.W. Bush and John Wayne. By the way, the majority of Walker, Texas Ranger was actually filmed in Texas.

The Texas Rangers have been around for over 200 years. Over the course of that time, they have caught a staggering number of criminals. No one will ever know exactly how many people have been made safer due to the efforts of the Rangers. But if you ever find yourself in trouble, it’s nice to know that the Rangers are on your side.