After months of planning, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is ready to roll out its new Border Strike Force as part of Governor Doug Ducey’s plan to target smuggling along the Arizona border.
According to TucsonNewsNow.com, The new state police strike force is designed to work with state, local and federal agencies to stop border-related crime.
“This initiative brings to the table a combined cooperative effort of law enforcement on both sides of the border to go after heroin and methamphetamine drug traffickers with a long term goal of making all our communities safer,” said DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead.
Border states like Arizona and Texas have been very active in policing their own borders with Mexico, largely due to the widespread perception that the federal government has not stepped up to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking in these areas. The Texas Department of Public Safety has initiated several operations in past years, including Border Star and Drawbridge, that brings law enforcement and concerned citizens together to monitor border activity.
Arizona has also been active in this regard, even resorting to a failed attempt in 2013 to privately fund the completion of the state’s section of border fence. DPS said in its news release Tuesday that the strike force is a strategy that encompasses all aspects of drug enforcement. However, some organizations are critical of this latest attempt to curb illegal border activity.
The ACLU is critical of the initiative, calling the effort “misguided” and “likely to create more problems than it solves,” it said in a Nov. 23, 2015 press release. “Arizonans have seen time and again that involving state police in U.S. border policies damages the well-being of our communities and the image of our state,” the ACLU stated.
Leadership at Arizona DPS is confident the strike force will benefit border communities and state security in general. “It’s providing a force multiplier in the fight against drug cartels and border crime. This same cooperative effort includes working with public safety officials in the State of Sonora, Mexico just south of Arizona,” DPS added.
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.