The Texas Violent Gang Task Force (TVGTF) has been successful in bringing together diverse personnel from criminal and juvenile justice agencies throughout the state for the common goal of establishing and maintaining a statewide gang networking system. The TVGTF epitomizes the importance of the commitment to collaboration in order to ensure public protection and ultimately restore and empower our communities.
While the Texas Violent Gang Task Force (TVGTF) has maintained its original purpose – to promote interagency collaboration to suppress gang activity through the collection and dissemination of gang intelligence information – its mission has expanded to provide ongoing training in the prevention, intervention, suppression and prosecution of gangs.
What is the TVGTF?
The TVGTF was created to establish a statewide networking system between local, state and federal criminal and juvenile justice professionals.
What is its purpose?
The purpose of the TVGTF is to combine independent agency resources in a cooperative effort to focus on gang membership and activity trends. The collection and dissemination of gang intelligence enable law enforcement and correctional agencies to take a proactive stance toward tracking the growth and spread of gangs statewide.
How long has it been active?
The original TVGTF, established in 1996, was a strategic partnership among various local, state and federal corrections and law enforcement agencies.
In 1999, the 76th Legislature passed Senate Bill 1580, which turned the TVGTF into a formal group. The bill added Article 61.10, “Texas Violent Gang Task Force,” to the Code of Criminal Procedure. According to this law, the TVGTF is comprised of ten appointees, as designated by the governor, who make up the Texas Violent Gang Task Force Advisory Board. Board Members include:
(1) A representative of the Department of Public Safety designated by the director of that agency;
(2) A representative of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice designated by the executive director of that agency;
(3) A representative of the Texas Youth Commission designated by the executive director of that agency;
(4) A representative of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission designated by the executive director of that agency;
(5) A representative of the Criminal Justice Policy Council designated by the executive director of that agency (agency abolished on September 1, 2003);
(6) A representative of the office of the attorney general designated by the attorney general; and
(7) Three local law enforcement or adult or juvenile community supervision personnel and a prosecuting attorney designated by the governor.
How is it organized?
The TVGTF has divided the state into six regions: Central, East, North, Panhandle, South and West. Each region has at least one TVGTF representative assigned to it who designates a Meeting Coordinator and Host Agency for each regional meeting. The Meeting Coordinator will usually designate a separate Contact Person to assist with organizing the meeting.
Law enforcement personnel attending TVGTF meetings will be able to receive TCLEOSE credits for the training offered.
(Due to the sensitive nature of the uncorroborated intelligence discussed during the meetings, the TVGTF does not recommend the widespread distribution of intelligence meeting notes to attendees. Distribution of this intelligence may compromise the integrity of the information and jeopardize active cases.)
What are the requirements to become a participant?
Participation in the TVGTF is open to full-time peace officers, correctional professionals, probation and parole officers, prosecutors and other criminal and juvenile justice professionals who are actively engaged in the investigation, prosecution and suppression of violent gangs.
How can I become a participant?
At each regional meeting, new participants must complete and return a “Participant Information Form” during that meeting’s registration period. Due to the sensitive nature of the information discussed, an agency identification card is also required to attend the meetings.
Sample Training Topics
· Border Violence and Mexican Drug Cartels
· Domestic Terrorism
· Gang Tattoo Identification
· Security Threat Group Updates
· Emergence of Tangos/Hometown Cliques
· Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
· Covert Gang Communication/Codes
· Internet Gang Investigations
· Gang Prosecution Strategies
2010 TVGTF Summary
The TVGTF continues to work toward its goals of increasing networking, fostering interagency collaboration, and creating strategic partnerships among agencies with common missions and goals. Central to the TVGTF mission is sharing information about gangs and gang activity, which is achieved primarily through training and the timely dissemination of gang-related information. Meetings are routinely publicized and, whenever possible, held in conjunction with regional gang investigators’ courses throughout Texas.
· Forty-two TVGTF training and intelligence meetings were held throughout the state.
· Representatives from more than 900 federal, state and local criminal and juvenile justice agencies participated in task force meetings.
· Approximately 2,600 criminal justice and juvenile justice personnel participated in statewide TVGTF meetings.
· Approximately 90 hours of TCLEOSEcertified training were offered at TVGTF meetings statewide, and approximately 775 officers received TCLEOSE training hours.
· Approximately 665 new criminal justice and juvenile justice professionals participated in TVGTF meetings throughout the state.
For more information about the TVGTF, please contact:
TDCJ-Security Threat Group Management Office
Office of the Texas Attorney General