THE TEXAS BORDER: WHAT’S THE STATUS?
Over the past few weeks, I have written about state agencies undergoing the sunset review process. In light of recent developments, I will change topics this week to look at the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is tasked by the Texas Legislature to protect and serve the people of Texas. There has been a lot of discussion recently in the news regarding the state of our Texas border. Recently, the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker came together and asked that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) act to immediately begin a law enforcement surge of operations on the Texas-Mexico border. DPS is now heavily involved with the border situation. This is an effort to try and deal with the lack of adequate federal resources to secure the border. Currently, state leaders have authorized DPS $1.3 million per week for border security operations. This plan is set to be carried out until at least the end of the calendar year. In this week’s article, I will review the ways in which the DPS is helping to try resolve the problems that this crisis has manifested.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has specified that their foremost goal is to “secure the border from transnational crime between the ports of entry.” The current situation on the border has given cartels and other criminal organizations the opportunity to increase drug and human trafficking into Texas and the United States. As the state level of law enforcement, DPS is working with both federal and local law enforcement groups to combat this criminal activity. The DPS pursues their goals by ongoing “saturation” patrols along the Texas/Mexico border. By detecting and intercepting criminal entries along the border, DPS efforts will prevent higher instances of human trafficking, home invasions, felony pursuits, stolen vehicles, and other serious crimes in Texas.
The Department of Public Safety is pursuing a variety of strategies to combat transnational crime on the border – in the air, water, and on the ground. Aerial patrols have increased to identify criminal activity, as well as reconnaissance support for ground operations. As for water, one tool is the Davis-class 34-foot-long shallow water interceptor boat, which monitors the Rio Grande as well as the Intracoastal Waterways. The interceptors are equipped with ballistic shielding, automatic weapons, and three 300-horsepower engines. On the ground, DPS has increased the establishment of observational posts and Ranger Recon Teams, as well as the deployment of Trooper Strike Teams (TST).
We will keep everyone posted on the developments. If you are interested in learning more visit the Department of Public Safety
Another topic I will be addressing in the near future is the issue of human trafficking. Recently, a hearing was held in La Joya, Texas by the Joint Committee to Study Human Trafficking. The Joint Committee is studying ways that Texas can help stop and handle this matter. We will soon be providing you other resources so you can keep up with this issue.
Some of the other agencies we will review in the upcoming weeks include the Texas Education Agency, Texas Facilities Commission, Texas Workforce Commission, as well as a number of other agencies. If you would like to learn more go to the Sunset Advisory Commission.
If you have any questions regarding the Department of Public Safety or the current situation on the border, please don’t hesitate to contact either my Capitol or District office. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.