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Texas Capitol ‘a high-value target,’ DPS says in request for more funding

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 10:44 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - State lawmakers will meet in Austin next Tuesday for the kickoff of the legislative session.

Given the breach of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, some fear something similar could happen at other government buildings and capitols across the country, including the Texas Capitol.

“We’re in a volatile situation right now,” said David Rodriguez, a managing partner at Tx2 Security Group in Liberty Hill.

“The biggest concern is probably any kind of copycat effect,” Rodriguez said.

In its legislative appropriations request to lawmakers filed in October, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that the state Capitol “remains a high-value target for a variety of violent actors, including antigovernment extremists acting alone or in groups.”

The agency also said “additional personnel and equipment are needed to obtain an adequate level of security at the Capitol and its grounds.”

DPS is asking lawmakers to set aside nearly $40 million to step up security in and around the Capitol.

That would pay for more than 60 new troopers, video cameras and gunshot detection equipment, among other tools to enhance security.

“I feel safe on the grounds, and I feel safe in the Capitol,” state Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple, said.

However, he said he supports allocating additional funds to boost security.

“If we have to enhance the security measures just like we have to enhance the safety measures for the COVID, I think that those are appropriate expenditures that have to be made,” Shine said.

DPS declined to specify what additional safety protocols, if any, it would enact in the days leading up to the session.

“While we do not discuss operational details, DPS will continue to adjust our operations, including deploying additional personnel and resources as needed to maintain public order and address potential threats,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a written statement.

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