AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Less than two weeks after a racist gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 others at an El Paso Walmart, Governor Greg Abbott formed a Domestic Terrorism Task Force to fight hateful acts and extremism in Texas.
"Our top priority is to keep Texans safe in their communities," said Governor Abbott. "Part of that mission is to combat domestic terrorism and root out the extremist ideologies that fuel hatred and violence in our state. This task force brings together leaders with the expertise Texas needs to develop effective strategies and combat domestic terrorism. Texas is stronger when we come together in pursuit of a shared goal, and today's actions are vital steps in our ongoing fight against extremism and violence. We stand united against those who wish to bring harm to our state, and together we will build a safer future for every Texan."
The group of experts will analyze and provide advice on strategies to maximize law enforcement's ability to protect against acts of domestic terrorism. The task force will hold its first roundtable meeting with Governor Abbott on Friday, August 30th.
Additionally, the Governor has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to take immediate action to combat any form of domestic terrorism in Texas including:
- Conducting a state intelligence assessment on the domestic terrorism threat in Texas.
- Establishing a Domestic Terrorism Section within the Texas Fusion Center to proactively seek, assess and monitor domestic terrorism and other mass casualty threats.
- Coordinating with the designated regional fusion centers in Texas to increase the detection and monitoring of domestic terrorism and other mass casualty threats.
- Establishing Domestic Terrorism Teams comprised of DPS Special Agents to provide immediate direct support to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF), and increase the number of Special Agents assigned to the JTTFs to conduct domestic counterterrorism investigations.
- Increasing the number of DPS Special Agents and Analysts in the Texas Anti-Gang Centers conducting investigations on criminal gangs affiliated with Neo Nazi and White Nationalist groups and networks espousing terrorist attacks.
The task force will meet quarterly, or at the call of the Governor, and will consist of the following members:
Governor Greg Abbott
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
Attorney General Ken Paxton
Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen
Colonel Steve McCraw, Department of Public Safety
Chief W. Nim Kidd, Texas Division of Emergency Management
Major General Tracy Norris, Texas Military Department
Executive Director Amanda Crawford, Texas Department of Information Resources
Executive Director Carter Smith, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Members of the United States Customs and Border Patrol
Members of the United States Secret Service
John Bash, United States Attorney -- Western District of Texas
Jeff Murray, Department of Homeland Security
Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
K. Sunshine Stanek, District Attorney for Lubbock County
Greg Allen, El Paso Police Chief
Sheriff Eddie Guerra, Hidalgo County
Captain Anthony Carter, Collin County Sheriff's Office, North Texas Fusion Center
Specifically, the task force will analyze current and emerging threats in Texas and develop strategies that government entities can take to prevent and respond to such threats.
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