The increase in Texas Department of Public Safety troopers along the Mexican border might seem far removed from Palo Pinto County, but the effects, to an undetermined extent, will be felt in Palo Pinto County.
According to sources, troopers from Palo Pinto County will be sent to the border to assist federal agencies in stemming the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the border.
Lonnie Haskell, DPS information officer in Arlington for this region, deferred any comments to DPS Press Secretary Tom Vinger, in Austin.
“Due to operational security and law enforcement safety, the department will not provide details of border security operational plans,” Vinger replied to an email inquiry.
“While securing the U.S. border with Mexico is a federal responsibility, the Texas Department of Public Safety has been entrusted by the Texas Legislature to protect and serve the people of Texas,” he continued. “Therefore, we have a responsibility to prioritize resources to combat the greatest threats facing our state. Currently Mexican cartels pose the most significant organized crime threat to Texas, with seven of the eight cartels operating command and control networks in the state. These sophisticated criminal organizations are trafficking drugs and people into the United States through the Texas border every day, while transporting cash, weapons and stolen vehicles back to Mexico.
“DPS has been directed by state leadership to begin conducting amplified border security operations — and we are prepared to do just that. At the same time, the department will work to minimize or negate any impact to other department services or projects,” Vinger concluded.
Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said the transfer of troopers would likely have little impact.
“For the most part, we handle criminal investigations,” he said. “They’re going to have enough troopers to handle accidents and traffic.”
He did say it was likely the trooper surge would mean a mass exodus. However, he added that oftentimes one trooper handled Palo Pinto and Jack counties but should problems arise, his office would respond as necessary.
“We have not gotten anything official,” Mercer added.