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Federal Legislative Agenda 2017

Homeland Security

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Operation Stone Garden Funding

Situation Assessment

The Laredo Police Department is asking for Stone Garden funding and Law Enforcement Border Security Grant funding for overtime to strategically place law enforcement officers from The Laredo Police Department in high traffic regions in the community to displace and dismantle Transnational Drug Organizations. The City of Laredo is the largest inland port in the United States and has several thousand trucks crossing our ports of entry every day. The region represents one of the largest rural counties in South Texas and providing effective law enforcement deployments are paramount to maintaining Border Security.

 

Background

It is with this concept in mind that the Laredo Police Department endeavors to pursue funding and support to fund two (2) full time positions to assign to the South Texas Border Intelligence Center (BIC), one police officer (Intelligence officer) and one civilian (criminal analyst). The tragic events of September 11, 2001, have virtually changed the manner by which law enforcement assesses potential threats in the community. This is even more evident along border cities, particularly those situated along the Mexican border. Cartel unrest and the escalation of violence in the major cities along the border have resulted in never before seen numbers of murders and disappearances. It is imperative that law enforcement agencies at the local, county and state levels develop a collaborative means to gather, analyze and share information. Critical community infrastructure such as those related to food, agriculture, public health, telecommunications, energy, transportation, and banking are now seen as potential targets. Intelligence must be incorporated into the planning process to reflect community problems and issues.

 

The Laredo Police Department has developed policy and a more robust process for gathering and analyzing information and has recently incorporated the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) program into departmental operations and the department’s website. It is the belief that improving internal processes and developing a systems approach to intelligence gathering, along with collaboration with other law enforcement agencies to address problems related to crime, public safety, and terrorism can produce extraordinary results. Given our proximity to the Mexican border and four international bridges and a low-level international water boundary, Laredo experiences a large number of legal and illegal immigrants entering the United States. In addition, as the largest inland port on the southern border, large amounts of hazardous material not only cross, but are also stored in Laredo. Hazardous materials can easily be converted to weapons of mass destruction. By securing funding for these positions, the department can improve staffing of the South Texas Border Intelligence Center and ensure that working in collaboration with our local, state, and federal partners – public safety will truly be enhanced.

 

The Laredo Police Department has a four (4) man Bomb Squad with bomb detection capabilities such as K-9s, a bomb robot and bomb protection suits. The Unit is also partnered up with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive as part of an integrated ATF Task Force. The Unit has provided immediate response to our City and the surrounding jurisdiction providing coverage and detection in the large South Texas Region.

 

Computer security is one of the primary concerns for our agency like many other of the nation's companies and government agencies. Billions of dollars are spent each year on preventing external threats from entering protected networks. But the sad truth is that more computer network breaches are happening now than ever before. The FBI's Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) division has long been concerned about the security of criminal databases used by law enforcement officers. CJIS maintains such databases as NCIC, IAFIS, and VICAP, and these databases contain confidential information about criminals, suspects, and victims. CJIS is responsible for maintaining the privacy of that information, and it doesn't want unauthorized people to access it. In order to maintain the required minimum level of safety, the Laredo Police Department has had to endure a substantial cost to meet those minimum requirements. The costs include the protection of Mobil Data Terminals in the patrol cars, desk tops in our head quarter offices and many other branches of our department that depend on these operating systems.

 

The Laredo Police Department has a police force of 485 sworn officers that serve a community of approximately 260,000 residents. Laredo’s Port of Entry crosses 66.1% of all trade through South Texas and remains the largest inland port on the U.S. and Mexico border and the 2nd largest in terms of trade value in the Country.  It is also the 3rd largest customs district in all of the United States with $284 billion in trade.  Goods shipped through Laredo travel to more than 60 countries. The International Bridges processed 2,087,586 southbound commercial motor vehicles in 2016. The influx of International Trade and the logistical challenges that it creates for the city in terms of deployment, manpower all the while maintaining minimum safety standards, has stretched thin an already burdened city general fund.

 

Solution

The need to maintain control of transnational crime and provide essential safety levels of security for the City of Laredo, especially now with new additional challenges and threats; such as, the issue with domestic terrorism and infiltration of terrorist groups such as the new threat from ISIS, presents a real need for more intervention and collaboration between Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies. The Laredo Police Department in an integral part of that solution and we are in need of funding to meet these ever growing challenges.

 

Target Agency

U.S. Department of Justice

 

Contact

Raymond E. Garner
Chief of Police
4712 Maher Avenue

Laredo, Texas 78041

Phone: (956) 795-2899

Fax: (956) 795-3120

Email: rgarner@ci.laredo.tx.us