David Dewhurst appears to be first lieutenant governor with state security detail, but he’s said he initially declined it
Todd Staples, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Texas, charged incumbent David Dewhurst, standing to his left, with a self-oriented achievement.
At a Jan. 27, 2014, debate, hosted by KERA-TV, Channel 13 in Dallas, Staples, the state agriculture commissioner, said: “I wish the lieutenant governor was more focused on what we’re spending in public schools rather than… being the first lieutenant governor in history to have a personal security detail. I would be more worried about what’s going on in the security of our schools rather than having a personal security detail that drives you from place to place and sweeps rooms before you go in.”
Is Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor since 2003, making history with a security phalanx?
Law enforcement agency confirms
To our inquiry, Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, confirmed that Dewhurst is the first lieutenant governor to have a state security detail. Asked if the detail is provided full time or on an as-needed basis, Vinger said the agency does not discuss security specifics.
Generally, Vinger told us by email, the DPS “is committed to protecting any state official that may be under threat conditions, especially considering that the threat environment has changed dramatically over the last decade,” Vinger said. “The Texas Government Code, Section 411.002(a)charges DPS with enforcing the laws protecting public safety and providing for the prevention and detection of crime.
“This includes any threat or attempt to physically harm any state official,” Vinger wrote. “The department deploys resources to detect and prevent such an act from occurring. Protecting the governor, lieutenant governor,” Texas House “speaker, attorney general and other state officials is a critical mission of the department, and DPS has a responsibility to perform these and other security related missions, such as protecting the state Capitol.”
Dewhurst: ‘I didn’t request protection’
Word of officials beyond Gov. Rick Perry getting greater security attention surfaced in early 2011, a year after a man fired shots on the south steps of the Texas Capitol before getting tackled by state troopers, according to a Jan. 21, 2010, Associated Press news story.
On Jan. 12, 2011, a news story in the Dallas Morning News called Dewhurst the “first Texas lieutenant governor to have a security detail, though governors have had them for years.”
But the story quoted an unidentified spokesman for Dewhurst saying that Dewhurst did not request the security.
In a political analysis published Jan. 14, 2011, Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune noted that Capitol security had been beefed up the year before in various ways including the placement of metal detectors at main entrances.
An Austin American-Statesman news story published that day quoted Dewhurst as saying that the DPS “came to me months ago and recommended security, but I have resisted. In December…Continued here: http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2014/jan/31/todd-staples/david-dewhurst-appears-be-first-lieutenant-governo/