Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

In Wake of El Paso Shooting, Texas Governor Launches Domestic Terrorism Task Force

The task force will analyze current and emerging state threats and form stronger prevention strategies. Abbott took similar action — which led to sweeping legislation — after last year's school shooting in Santa Fe.

By Troy Closson

Less than two weeks after a gunman walked into an El Paso Walmart and killed 22 shoppers, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has launched a Domestic Terrorism Task Force to protect against statewide acts of extremism, his office announced in a Wednesday release.

The task force — comprising federal, state and local officials, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and El Paso police Chief Greg Allen — will analyze current and emerging state threats and form prevention and response strategies, the release says. Federal authorities have treated the El Paso shooting as an act of domestic terrorism after the discovery of a hate-filled manifesto, which they believe was authored by the gunman, warning of a "Hispanic invasion of Texas" amid other racist and xenophobic language.

“Our top priority is to keep Texans safe in their communities,” Abbott said in the 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."

Members will provide recommendations on statewide security planning to Abbott's office and aim to improve interagency cooperation in response to threats. The release did not mention any responsibilities related to revisiting Texas gun laws.

Abbott took similar action — which led to sweeping legislation — after 10 people were killed during a Santa Fe school shooting last year. The resulting school safety measure he signed into law instructed school districts to implement multihazard emergency operation plans, ensured district employees were trained to respond to emergencies and strengthened mental health initiatives available to children.

The task force in response to the El Paso shooting will convene for the first time Aug. 30 and meet on at least a quarterly basis afterward.

Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
The 2021 Ideas Challenge recognizes innovative public policy that positively impacts local communities and the NewDEAL leaders who championed them.
Sponsored
Drug coverage affordability really does exist in the individual Medicare marketplace!
Sponsored
Understand the differences between group Medicare and individual Medicare plans and which plans are best for retirees.
Sponsored
For a while, concerns about credit card fees and legacy processing infrastructure might have slowed government’s embrace of digital payment options.
Sponsored
How expanded financial assistance, a streamlined application process and creative legislation can help Black and brown-owned businesses revive communities hit hardest by the pandemic.
Sponsored
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Sponsored
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
Sponsored
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Sponsored
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.