Gov. Abbott Aims to Prevent Mass Shootings

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issues a series of executive orders aimed at preventing another mass shooting. They involve a collaboration with the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.

One of them is directed at teachers, to prevent another shooting like the one at Santa Fe High School. Noel Candelaria with the Texas State Teachers Association says they're on the front lines...

"I was in several positions with some of my students where that they would share things with me they wouldn't share with their friends or even their parents... The teacher seems one of the most trusted adults that a kid interacts with on a daily basis. So yes, a teacher will be able to have insight..."

But Candelaria says the governor needs to put financial resources behind those orders, because schools don't have enough counselors to help.

The orders also call for increased staffing at Cyber Fusion Centers to better monitor social media and online forums for possible threats. The nationwide fusion centers were created in 2003 by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies to strengthen anti-terrorism efforts.

Gov. Abbott issued the following executive orders:

Order No. 1 Within thirty days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall develop standardized intake questions that can be used by all Texas law enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.

Order No. 2 Within thirty days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidance, based on the appropriate legal standard, for when and how Texas law-enforcement agencies should submit Suspicious Activity Reports.

Order No. 3 Within sixty days of this order, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement shall make training available to educate all law-enforcement officers regarding the standards that will be developed pursuant to Order No. 1 and Order No. 2.

Order No. 4 The Department of Public Safety shall create and conduct an initiative to raise public awareness and understanding of how Suspicious Activity Reports are used by law-enforcement agencies to identify potential mass shooters or terroristic threats, so that the general public and friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and classmates will be more likely to report information about potential gunmen.

Order No. 5 The Department of Public Safety shall work with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on ways to better inform schools, students, staff, and families about the importance of Suspicious Activity Reports and how to initiate that process.

Order No. 6 The Department of Public Safety shall work with local law enforcement, mental-health professionals, school districts, and others to create multidisciplinary threat assessment teams for each of its regions, and when appropriate shall coordinate with federal partners.

Order No. 7 The Department of Public Safety, as well as the Office of the Governor, shall use all available resources to increase staff at all fusion centers in Texas for the purpose of better collecting and responding to Suspicious Activity Reports, and better monitoring and analyzing social media and other online forums, for potential threats.

Order No. 8 Beginning January 1, 2020, all future grant awards from the Office of the Governor to counties shall require a commitment that the county will report at least 90 percent of convictions within seven business days to the Criminal Justice Information System at the Department of Public Safety. By January 1, 2021, such reporting must take place within five business days.

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