Texas Governor Rick Perry recently gave additional details on his plan to increase border security. As reported by the Houston Chronicle:
Gov. Rick Perry gave more details today on his $100 million plan to crack down on drug and human smuggling along the Mexican border by enlisting hundreds of armed National Guard forces and thousands more agents from other state and federal agencies.
Perry described “Operation Wrangler” as a second phase of an initiative to use state resources to fill security holes left by the federal government.
Perry said the plan piggybacks on last February’s Operation Rio Grande, which he said helped border sheriffs reduce crime by 60 percent by helping them buy more equipment and pay officers overtime. Since October 2005, the state has spent $20 million on border security efforts.
Operation Wrangler will send 604 National Guard troops throughout the state, he said, “covering the coast, the rivers, and the interstate highway system.”
The troops will work with agencies totaling more than 6,800 personnel working for 11 “joint operational intelligence centers,” all guided by a control operations center in Austin. Five centers were to be at Border Patrol offices along the border and others were to be along smuggling corridors.
The guard members will operate in platoons accompanied by a Border Patrol member. A Border Patrol spokesman referred all queries about the program to the governor’s office.
Perry said state and federal agencies are much more cooperative since the 2001 terrorist attacks, which he said changed the old atmosphere of “turf protection.”
He said the operation will put more than 2,200 vehicles, 48 helicopters, 33 fixed wing aircraft and 35 patrol ships to the task of catching and deterring smugglers.
Along with the state and federal law-enforcement agencies, others in the operation include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Civil Air Patrol, the Texas Cattleman’s Association, the Railroad Police, the U.S. Postal Service and University of Texas Center for Space Research.