Texas state trooper punished for Snoop Dogg Instagram photo

Decision to pose with rapper ‘reflects poorly on the Agency’

Snoop Dogg and Texas state trooper Billy Spears in Austin in March. (Instagram)
Snoop Dogg and Texas state trooper Billy Spears in Austin in March. (Instagram)

It’s been a big week for marijuana busts in Texas.

On Wednesday, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced that a trooper seized a staggering $24 million worth of marijuana during a recent traffic stop along the Mexico border.

But a cannabis crackdown of a different kind is making even larger headlines in the Lone Star State.

Texas Trooper Billy Spears and Snoop Dogg. (Instagram)
Texas Trooper Billy Spears and Snoop Dogg. (Instagram)

That’s because the state police snagged one of its own officers. The offense? Posing for a photo with rap star Snoop Dogg — who’s been very public about his affinity for pot.

The snapshot, taken at Snoop’s request, shows veteran Trooper Billy Spears — wearing the department’s iconic uniform and cowboy hat — standing backstage with the rapper during Austin’s recent South by Southwest music festival.

Snoop later published the photo on Instagram with the caption, “Me n my deputy dogg.”

When the state police top brass caught wind of the photo, they informed Spears that he should have declined the photo op, given Snoop’s admitted indulgence in the illegal drug.

“While working a secondary employment job, Trooper Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges,” the department wrote in a reprimand. “The public figure posted the photo on social media and it reflects poorly on the Agency.”

Snoop Dogg, born Calvin Broadus, was in and out of prison in the early 1990s for drug possession. In 1993, he and his bodyguard were charged with the murder of a rival gang member but later acquitted. Through the years, he has not been shy about his propensity for smoking pot.

Click on image see full report.
Click on image see full report.

Spears, a trooper for nearly 20 years, is a married father of two. He patrols the Piney Woods of East Texas and is stationed not far from country star Miranda Lambert’s hometown.

“Billy did not know about Snoop Dogg’s criminal history,” Ty Clevenger, an attorney representing the trooper, wrote on his website. “Believe it or not, some folks don’t watch TMZ or read People Magazine. … Would the DPS hierarchy get so bent out of shape about a picture with Willie Nelson?”

Clevenger is fighting to get the punishment removed from Spears’ personnel file.

“DPS has no policy requiring a criminal background check on everyone who requests a picture with a uniformed trooper,” the attorney stated. “In fact, DPS has no policy forbidding a photograph with someone who has a criminal conviction.”

DPS spokesman Tom Vinger called the incident a personnel mater and declined to discuss the Spears case.

The reprimand Spears received is titled a “Counseling Record,” but does not mean the officer is ordered to submit to ongoing instruction or guidance.

On the document, his supervisor writes: “Use good Judgment when taking photos with anyone while in uniform. Be mindful of social media outlets and how such photos can negatively affect the Agency.”

Spears was ordered to describe how he will work to avoid similar situations in the future.

“Refuse photos,” he wrote.

There goes the Deputy Dogg badge.

Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).