Money, manpower biggest issues for border sheriffs

by dentonramsey

Money, manpower biggest issues for border sheriffs

By Denton Ramsey / Staff Writer


The Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, organized May 4, is an effort to further protect the open borders along the United States/Mexico border.

Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzales, Jr., Zapata County, chairs the TBSC and the vice chairman is Sheriff Leo Samaniego, El Paso County. The TBSC mission statement is as follows:

Texas sheriffs, empowered by the state constitution, are committed, from a national security perspective, to protect lives, property and the rights of the people, maintain order and security in the United States along the Republic of Mexico border, enforce the law impartially, and provide quality police service in partnership with other law enforcement agencies and community partners.

Since the forming of the TBSC, 16 sheriffs from along the border met July 6-7 in Del Rio to discuss what needs to be done to fully protect the United States.

More money and more manpower were two of the biggest issues, and the coalition has asked the Department of Homeland Security for financial assistance to safely control the border.

“We do greatly appreciate the money given to us for the suits and gas masks to be used if terrorists attack, top-notch radio equipment that is better than this county has ever seen,” Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said. “But we look like we’re preparing for an event of mass destruction.

“What we need to do is prevent any advance before they get here by tightening our borders with manpower. Threats of terrorism don’t have to come across in a semi; it can come across in a backpack,” he said.

While many of the other counties involved in the coalition are dealing with problems concerning undocumented immigrants from countries other than Mexico and NARCO terrorism, the biggest problem in Brewster County is the wide open spaces and little manpower to watch them, “So we really don’t know what is being brought in,” Dodson said.

“We need off-road vehicles and manpower for the counties along the border before it gets anywhere near the large cities,” Dodson said. “The coalition will be meeting again next week in Houston and we are also planning a trip to Washington D.C.”

Another problem, according to Dodson, is that “senators and congressmen do not contact local authorities in our area along the border. They rely on information received from poorly informed sources regarding the border.”

In some of the bigger border cities in Texas, violence is occurring in Mexico and carrying over into the United States. However, Brewster County’s biggest concern is the fact that immigrants, or terrorists for that matter, can easily avoid all border checkpoints and arrive in big cities such as Odessa or Midland in no time at all.

In order for each county to assist in properly protecting the nations’ borders, the Department of Homeland Security is going to have to accommodate border counties, both financially and by adding more manpower-including more Border Patrol agents, said Dodson.


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