Governor Abbott directs DPS to deploy additional resources to combat violent crime and gang activity In San Antonio
Governor Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to deploy additional tactical resources to support the San Antonio Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force to combat gang-related activity and the double-digit growth in violent crime in San Antonio and Bexar County. The San Antonio Police Department has implemented a model task force approach to combat escalating violent crime, and increasing the number of state resources committed to this effort will bolster the overall impact.
“My top priority as Governor is the safety of our citizens and communities in Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “That is why I’m committing state resources to support our local law enforcement partners and locally-elected officials of San Antonio and Bexar County to crack down on and combat violent crime. This effort by DPS to assist on the ground in the highest-need areas is crucial to ensuring our streets are safe and our citizens are protected, and I am committed to the success of this effort.”
“Protecting our residents remains my top priority, and SAPD looks forward to working with DPS as they support our efforts to keep the people of San Antonio safe,” said SAPD Chief William McManus. “The cowardly criminals seeking to prey on our communities and those who make a living by habitually committing violent crimes should know this: we are looking for you and we will be putting you out of business.”
“We appreciate the support for our ongoing efforts to thwart violent crime in San Antonio. The San Antonio Police Department has been doing an outstanding job, and these resources are welcome when it comes to protecting our community. Keeping our neighborhoods safe is our highest priority," said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
“An increase in violent crime in any community must be met with a robust law enforcement response to substantially disrupt the criminal elements at work,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We are proud to answer the governor’s directive by committing more of our resources to the SAPD Violent Crimes Task Force and supporting their efforts to identify and remove the most serious threats from the communities in and around San Antonio.”
DPS is bolstering their support of the SAPD Violent Crimes Task Force with the following resources:
Trooper Strike Teams comprised of Texas Highway Patrol Troopers
Violent Crime Squads comprised of DPS Special Agents
Felony Fugitive Team comprised of Texas Rangers and tactical support personnel
Intelligence Team comprised of criminal analysts
Communication and surveillance support personnel
DPS aircraft and crew to provide around-the-clock air support capabilities in San Antonio
The deployment of these resources will be complemented by the DPS assets currently supporting the task force as well as additional DPS Special Agents and Analysts already scheduled to be assigned to the Texas Anti-Gang (TAG) Center in San Antonio later this year. The TAG program is funded by grants from the Criminal Justice Division (CJD) of the Texas Governor’s Office to support targeted, regional approaches to combatting gang violence by closely coordinating the prevention, intervention and suppression activities of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. (The San Antonio TAG is on track to become operational in December 2017.)
Earlier this year, Governor Abbott announced an initiative in Harris County similar to the task force in San Antonio. Thus far (through August 2017) the effort in Harris County has resulted in 339 felony arrests and 77 gang investigations. These arrests have consequently also disrupted 25 robbery crews believed to be responsible for 198 robberies.