Following the recent escalation of murders in northern Mexico and the increasing threat of violence crossing over into neighboring border communities in Texas, Gov. Perry today ordered the activation of the first phase of the state's spillover violence contingency plan. The state's plan is law enforcement sensitive and will not be released to the public for operational security purposes.
"With the growing threat of violence in Mexico spilling over the border, we have taken important measures to increase the law enforcement presence along the Texas border and have placed additional resources on standby to combat any potential situation," Gov. Perry said. "It is imperative that the federal government immediately provide additional resources to prevent spillover violence, but with the safety of Texans on the line, we can't afford to wait."
At the governor's direction, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), in coordination with local and federal law enforcement along the Texas-Mexico border, has implemented critical elements of the state's spillover violence contingency plan. These steps include increased surveillance of border activity by state and local law enforcement, the Texas Border Security Operations Center, and the Joint Operational and Intelligence Centers to ensure the timely sharing of intelligence information; increased ground, air and maritime patrol presence; and increased intensity of day and night DPS helicopter patrol operations along the Rio Grande River, as well as National Guard helicopters to support aviation missions. Additional resources ready for rapid deployment have been placed on standby, including DPS SWAT Teams and Trooper Strike Teams, as well as Ranger Recon Teams prepared to reposition based on threat.
"Texas has a unique cultural and economic relationship with Mexico, and we are committed to a common interest of shutting down these criminal enterprises," Gov. Perry said. "We will continue to closely monitor this situation, and take any necessary action to ensure the safety of our citizens and to protect continued legitimate cross-border trade and travel."
Since January 2008, a reported 4,700 homicides have been committed across the border from El Paso in Ciudad Juarez, making it one of the most violent cities in the world.
A porous border places Texas and the nation at risk from international terrorists, organized crime cartels and transnational gangs. Until the federal government fulfills its responsibility of securing our border, Texas will continue filling in the gaps by putting more boots on the ground, providing increased law enforcement resources and leveraging technology along the border.
Gov. Perry has a standing request with the federal government for 1,000 Title 32 National Guardsmen to support civilian law enforcement efforts to enhance border security in Texas, as well as a more recent request for predator drones to be based in and operate over the Texas-Mexico border to provide essential information to law enforcement on the ground.