In light of the domestic terrorist attack at the Walmart in El Paso that left 22 dead and 24 seriously injured, Governor Greg Abbott announced that he is establishing a state task force to combat acts of domestic terrorism.
“Our top priority is to keep Texans safe in their communities,” said Governor Abbott in a press release. “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.”
The force which will meet quarterly, beginning with a roundtable meeting on August 30, will consist of several Texas leaders in state and federal agencies. Included in the list of members are Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen, and members of Customs and Border Patrol, Secret Service, and Homeland Security.
The release states that the task force “will analyze and provide advice on strategies to maximize law enforcement’s ability to protect against acts of domestic terrorism.”
Gov. Abbott also provided several other instructions to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to combat domestic terrorism.
Part of the instructions include creating special teams of DPS agents to cooperate with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces and also increase the number of DPS agents and analysts conducting investigations into gangs affiliated with neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups.
“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,” Gov. Abbott stated. “We stand united against those who wish to bring harm to our state, and together we will build a safer future for every Texan.”
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.