Texas’s public safety department this week announced a new partnership to modernize its systems and operations and eventually develop what it claims will be the nation’s first terrorist offender registry.
The Texas Department of Public Safety awarded Mission Critical Partners, a public safety consulting and technology firm, with a five-year contract to modernize its systems and operations in support of its crime records division, according to a news release. The firm will focus on up to 14 interrelated systems that support the state’s law enforcement and non-criminal justice agencies. This includes a recently passed Texas law requiring terrorists to register with the state.
According to the release, the firm will begin with assessing the “current state of crime-records data and technology systems” and develop plans for enhancing the department’s technology.
Part of the modernization efforts will eventually include a Terrorist Offender Registry, which was put into state law earlier this year. This will require convicted terrorists to register with law enforcement if they plan to move, or currently reside, in Texas.
The bill, signed into law in April, noted that 34 states and the District of Columbia have criminal statutes for terrorism on the books, but Texas does not.
“This has resulted in law enforcement and prosecutors lacking the necessary tools to pursue investigation, obtain convictions and impose proportionate punishments against terrorist actors,” the bill states.
While the bill says the terrorism law would operate similarly to the state’s sex offender registration statute, the Terrorist Offender Registry’s information will not be open to the public and will only be accessible to law enforcement.
The bill has other caveats, such as that the registry will not include social media usernames or risk-level evaluations for offenders.