Gov. Rick Perry today praised the brave men and women of law enforcement, emergency responders, volunteer organizations, Texas Military Forces and the continued coordination between state, local and federal agencies for preparing and protecting Texans from all natural and man-made threats to our state. The governor spoke at the annual Texas Homeland Security Conference, where he also announced an award of more than $1.7 million to fund a border prosecution unit to amplify the state's border security efforts.
"Whether you're on another preparedness exercise or a search and rescue operation after a major storm, your selfless service makes our state a better place to live, and everyone here has a role to play in our state's forward-leaning approach to emergency management and homeland security," Gov. Perry said. "People already move to Texas to take part in our strong economy, enjoy our state's natural beauty and immerse themselves in our culture, but your dedication ensures they can enjoy those qualities in safety."
A significant threat to our security is the growing danger presented by ruthless drug cartels and transnational gangs operating on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border. While the federal government continues to fail in its responsibility to secure our international border, at the governor's request last session, the Legislature again allocated more than $110 million to continue the state's border security operations, including funding to combat transnational gangs.
From that funding, Gov. Perry today announced a grant of more than $1.7 million to El Paso County to participate in and serve as the fiscal agent for the Border Prosecution Unit, which is a collaborative initiative of the 16 District Attorneys along the Texas-Mexico border. Thanks to the state's efforts in strengthening border security, the number of cases for money laundering, drug and human trafficking, kidnapping, murder and gang-related offenses have increased. The unit will use these funds to increase the number of prosecutors and specialized investigators to handle cases resulting from border-related crime.
Texas takes a proactive approach to emergency preparedness and response, and is capable of handling a full spectrum of threats. With the state's large size and unique geography, those threats include terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, pandemic flu and infectious disease. These threats require constant planning, organizing, equipping, training and exercising at every level to optimally protect nearly 24 million Texans, and the state's critical infrastructure and key resources.