Multiple Rio Grande Valley law enforcement agencies requested funding for their departments during a House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety Hearing held in Brownsville on Wednesday.
The public hearing was held to discuss how local and state law enforcement agencies are handling border security.
Police chiefs and county sheriffs from across the Rio Grande Valley stood before the committee and expressed their needs and concerns.
Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio testified that he has seen more drug trafficking in his county, but does not have enough man-power to combat it.
“I don’t have enough personnel and I feel that I need more personnel,” said Lucio.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is requesting an additional $600 million in funding for the next two years, which would provide 250 more troopers along the border, as well as 5,000 cameras and new vehicles.
Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence said some of that funding should be used for local agencies.
“We feel for the minute part of what they’re paying out already, we could cover the areas from Brownsville to El Paso,” said Spence. “And we could take care of the problems there, leaving Border Patrol and DPS open to whatever else they have to do.”
According to Texas DPS Director Steven McGraw, DPS presence along the border has decreased drug seizures in Hidalgo and Starr counties by 25 percent.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said that it would be cheaper and more beneficial to invest in their departments because deputy salaries are lower than trooper salaries.
“We don’t need a hotel room.,” said Guerra. “You don’t have to pay us any per diem, so it’s more effective.”