Tyler Junior College hosted a public hearing of the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety February 1, in the board room on the TJC main campus.
The hearing was attended by a capacity crowd of government and law enforcement officials from across the state.
Members of the nine-member committee heard a comprehensive review of the Texas Department of Public Safety on various agency matters, including Texas/Mexico border security and operations, East Texas gang/cartel activity, driver license operations and safety factors on sedan vs. SUV patrol units.
DPS officials who provided updates included: Steve McCraw, director; Robert Bodisch, deputy director; Suzy Whittenton, chief financial officer; Amanda Arriaga, driver license division director; and Skylor Hearn, deputy director for administration services.
A panel discussion was held on interactions between law enforcement and citizens, including an update on enactments of new law. Panel members included: Kim Vickers, executive director, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement; Brian Francis, executive director, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation; and Kathy Mitchell, policy advocate, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.
TJC President Dr. Mike Metke and TJC Director of Public Safety Brent Chambers gave a presentation on junior college campus security.
The House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to law enforcement, the prevention of crime and apprehension of criminals, the provision of security services by private entities, and homeland security, including the defense and state of the nation, including terrorism response and disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
The committee also has jurisdiction over the following state agencies: the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the Department of Public Safety, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Emergency Management Council, the Texas Forensic Science Commission, the Texas Military Preparedness Commission, the Texas Private Security Board, the Commission on State Emergency Communications, and the Texas Crime Stoppers Council.
Committee members include: Phil King, chair; Poncho Nevarez, vice-chair; DeWayne Burns; Gina Hinojosa; Justin Holland; Jarvis Johnson; Will Metcalf; Matt Schaefer; and John Wray.