In the wake of the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, the local Congressman says he is trying to help make schools safer.
U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, the District 22 representative and former Fort Bend County Sheriff, said during a May 26 news conference that he is calling for support of a proposed bill called the Public Safety Enhancement Act.
Nehls, a Republican, re-upped his call for support for the legislation following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, where 19 students and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman, according to multiple media reports. According to Nehls, his proposed legislation - originally proposed in December 2021 - now has 80 co-sponsors which cross party lines, including U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat. A spokesperson for Lee did not immediately respond to a Monday email seeking confirmation.
The proposed law, Nehls said, would add 100,000 extra police officers to communities and schools around the state over the next five years, with 20,000 being added each year. He is also pushing to have at least one armed officer at every school.
“We must restore safety to our streets and security to our schools,” he said. “… I will never stop fighting for (the) safety of our children, neighbors and community members.”
Prior to the news conference, local officials said discussion on issues such as mental health, gun control and more took place as part of a day-long law enforcement roundtable.
“That is our worst nightmare (from a police perspective), to have something like that happen,” Katy ISD police chief Henry Gaw said of the massacre in Uvalde. “We’re doing everything we can to prevent something like that from happening in Fort Bend, Katy, and the Houston area. … Safety and protection of communities is on everyone’s heart here.”
The roundtable saw representatives from the Rosenberg Police Department, Missouri City Police Department and Katy ISD police as well as the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, among others.
“I feel confident our community in the Greater Houston area is stronger and safer today because of meetings like this,” Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson said.
Missouri City Police Chief Mike Berezin echoed the sentiment.
“There’s a lot of tough issues out there, and we confronted a lot of those today,” he said.
Nehls said the ultimate goal is to do as much as possible to mitigate threats of gun violence so families can return to a sense of normalcy.
“The entire community, state and nation has been rocked by this tragedy,” Nehls said. “This is a time to support neighbor, friend and fellow American.”