The Texas National Guard will have 1,000 troops available in five of the state’s largest cities to help local law enforcement in the event that there is social unrest on Nov. 3 and in the following days.
Deployment is for “post-election” support of local and state law enforcement in case of civil disturbances, retired Maj. Gen. James K. “Red” Brown, chief of staff to the guard’s top commander, said.
Guard officials said that troops would be made available to Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
Major General Tracy R. Norris said troops would not be placed a polling stations.
“The Texas Military Department was activated to provide additional support to the Department of Public Safety in the summer of 2020,” Norris told NBC-5. “Texas Service Members continue to support DPS in this capacity, guarding historical landmarks such as the Alamo and the State Capitol. To be clear, there has been no request nor any plan to provide any type of support at any polling location in Texas.”
Gov. Greg Abbott explained the reasoning behind his office having contacted counties about ensuring public safety on and after Nov. 3.
“We want to make sure in the event there are any protests after the elections are completed we have adequate personnel in place to make sure we are able to address any protests that turn into riots,” Abbott said.
“And along those lines, and we want to make sure that in the event there are any after the elections … we will have adequate personnel in place to make sure that we will be able to address any protests that could turn to riots,” Abbott added.
Dallas city leaders told KRDO News that they have a specific operational plan for the downtown area partially because the American Airlines Center is the county’s largest polling place. Officials said they plan to ensure that police have “adequate staff on Election Day and the days following.”
Law enforcement agencies from Austin, El Paso, San Antonio and Fort Worth told the Houston Chronicle earlier this month that they were planning for potential unrest around the Nov. 3 election.
Tara Long, an Austin Police Department spokesperson, said the plans were “to ensure the safety of the community while protecting the rights of people to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights.”
An El Paso police spokesperson told the Chronicle that it had developed “unrest contingency plans.”
In Houston, a police spokesperson said officers “routinely monitor any major event, including elections, but declined to discuss plans for election night.”