MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas - A police chief in Montgomery County is proposing a plan to help bolster the number of officers working near the Texas border, while providing training to those officers unfamiliar with organized criminal operations.
"What I'm trying to do is get ahead of the curve," said Chief Andy Walters, with the Oak Ridge North Police Department.
Walters said the recent crisis on the border highlights a problem Texas has struggled with for years -- human smuggling operations and drug cartels taking advantage of understaffed and rural law enforcement agencies to move drugs and people from the border farther north.
"Your drug cartels are in this area, in Montgomery County. We know that but we don't know how they operate," said Walters.
Walters has sent three of his officers for a week each to work with Border Patrol and law enforcement agencies in Brownsville, Pharr and Brooks County.
"Train the officers what to look for, what's going on," said Walters. "Get the latest intelligence and bring it back."
Walters said this will be especially helpful for when officers patrol Interstate 45, which is a well-worn pipeline for drugs and people. Highlighting this point, Walters said one of his officers working with Border Patrol found a load of drugs in a car trying to cross into Texas.
"And the funny thing about that, when we ran the registration, it came back to a Conroe address," said Walters.
Walters said he believes this plan can be expanded statewide. He has presented a plan to state lawmakers calling for the more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies in Texas to send one officer each, on a rotating basis, to work in rural border communities. Walters said this would be a larger and more permanent "surge" than the one Gov. Rick Perry ordered in June.
"Would be more than DPS put out and certainly more than the National Guard is supplementing now," said Walters.
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