Sheriff: East Texas Anti-Gang Center set to be operational later this month

Sheriff Smith: ‘We’re going to hit the ground running’

Sheriff: East Texas Anti-Gang Center set to be operational later this month
Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith speaks with reporters following a commissioners court meeting on Monday, March 2, 2020. (Source: Blake Holland/KLTV)

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - The East Texas Anti-Gang Center is expected to be up and running by mid-March, according to Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith.

“We’re going to hit the ground running,” Smith said. “We’ve already got a lot of cases lined up between the different law enforcement entities. We have a plan of action.”

Sheriff Smith said there’s no exact date set right now, but he anticipates they’ll be operating about two weeks from Monday, March 2.

“We’re going to probably start off with 35 to 40 employees there under one roof," Smith said. “Federal, state, local law enforcement."

On Monday morning, Smith County commissioners authorized the continuation of a grant from the Office of the Governor’s Homeland Security Division for operating the center in the next budget year.

“The grant for next year just allows us to keep operating the center for another year after this (budget) year’s complete in August," Smith said.

Smith said the cooperation among the different agencies has been “outstanding," and that having all agencies under one roof will streamline their efforts.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for the expansion of the state’s anti-gang centers in Feb. 2019. The local team will focus on gathering intelligence and enforcement of any violent crimes that have any connection to gang activity.

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