Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Perry pledges money to border security plan

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News

Gov. Rick Perry vowed Wednesday to provide $9.7 million for a sheriff group's security plan along the Texas-Mexico border, money he said would meet immediate needs until the federal government decides on permanent funding.

“It's a one-time thing right now, but the fact of the matter is we're going to be counting on our federal counterparts,” Perry said while making the announcement across the border from Nuevo Laredo, which has been plagued by drug-related violence this year.

“Operation Linebacker,” the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition plan to boost border security, would get $3 million to hire additional deputies, $3 million for overtime pay and $3.7 million for other initiatives from Perry's criminal justice fund.

The plan also would establish four rapid deployment teams, each with 50 Department of Public Safety troopers, and permanently assign 54 DPS criminal investigators on the border to support local law enforcement.

“Enforcement of our border is a federal responsibility, but the consequences of inaction is suffered by border states,” Perry said. “The state of Texas cannot wait for the federal government to implement needed border security measures.”

In August, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano declared states of emergency for counties in their states along the border with Mexico. In the case of New Mexico, four border counties will share $1 million promised by Richardson as part of his plan to increase security along the border.

Perry said he has been in talks with governors of Mexico's border states about the plan. He said he will ask the Legislature next session to expand wiretap authorities for border investigations. Perry said he will not support a particular federal plan.

“I'm for the one that frankly brings the most money to our sheriffs,” he said.


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