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Proposed Texas Border Shield Requires Much More Than Money

Proposed Texas Border Shield Requires Much More Than Money

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Security Plans along the Border and Electioneering in Texas
Security Plans along the Border and Electioneering in Texas

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Mar 17, 2014
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03/23/2014

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Column 031714 Brewer 
 
Monday, March 17, 2014
 
Security Plans along the Border and Electioneering in Texas
 
By Jerry Brewer
 Well intentioned Mexico and U.S. border fixes must reach far more strategic and proactive planning and engagement than simply resorting to tossing more massive amounts of dollars and people at the invisible walls and fences to see what will stick. Texas Governor Rick Perry should be lauded for announcing a Texas border plan as early as 2005. He appears to have  been the first of the U.S. governors of southern border area states to recognize the surge of violence that originated in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico on July 28, 2005.
 
That brutal gun battle, between armed criminal groups, was in fact the first true  wakeup call to telegraph what would  become a near decade of horrific death and violence in Mexico. Furthermore, the armed combatants possessed unusually advanced weapons in an arsenal that combined automatic weapons, bazookas and hand grenades. Hundreds of different caliber shells were subsequently found at the scene, which resembled a war zone. Police located AK-47 rifles, handguns and ski masks. And if
 
that was not disturbing enough, a state policeman who asked not to be identified said that investigators found numerous photographs of municipal police officers at the residence and an apparent hit list of officials marked for death. Further intelligence revealed that each of the photographs listed the officer's name and assigned location, along with maps to their homes and where their children  went to school. Governor Perry apparently did not know the seriousness of the situation, as many officials in Mexico and the U.S. were either oblivious to the threats that were manifesting along the Texas border, or the officials were viewing the incidents through rose-colored glasses. There were quick denials by both sides that the Nuevo Laredo event was significant, and it was explained away as just a local drug cartel feud.
 
Immediately following the cartels' shootout in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico's presidential spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said that federal efforts to stop the  violence in Nuevo Laredo "have been successful." Meanwhile, along the Arizona border U.S. Border Patrol agents were being fired upon, and U.S. border area police officials  were witnessing Mexican paramilitary types escorting drug shipments north into the U.S. Yet government officials in the U.S. brazenly stated that Americans were not targets of the aggressiveness. However, there in fact was targeting of law enforcement officials on both sides of the border.
 
The Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition met  with Governor Perry  to discuss and coordinate their thoughts for protecting their jurisdictions with limited resources
 
to fight armed combatants with paramilitary skills and weaponry. However, in Perry's assessment of local law enforcement as the "on the ground experts," he may have failed to assess their true strategic capabilities and actual plans for the deployment of human and physical resources. Furthermore, Perry  was quick to point out that "border security is a federal responsibility," yet he noted that Texas has an obligation to protect its citizens.
 
It was in December of 2006 when Mexico's new president, Felipe Calderon, stepped in and found a homeland  besieged with violence as criminals terrorized cities and murdered people  with impunity.
In Texas, Perry’s plan was n
ot much less than a bottomless pit that allocated a few million dollars in criminal justice grant funds for "local officer overtime." Local governments cringe when they hear the  word overtime over and over again; this  while they also consistently hear that there is not enough manpower. Overtime can create a greater workload for officers, and their safety and the safety of others becomes a concern. Though these officers may make more money, they can become less efficient in highly stressed situations and with the constant need for clear thinking.  Along these lines, it is not always how many police officers you have but what those officers actually do and accomplish  while they are in the field.
 
Perry was on target in asking for money to improve radio communication along the border, and for multiagency proactive policing initiatives. Although money does not plug every dike, Perry soon learned the importance of effective and strategic

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