WESLACO – Public Safety Commission (PSC) Chair Cynthia Leon today joined Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in Weslaco as he presented a $120,000 grant to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to expand the successful Operation Drawbridge program. Led by DPS, U.S. Border Patrol and border sheriffs, Operation Drawbridge involves the installation and monitoring of motion-detecting cameras located on farms and ranches near the Texas-Mexico border.
“Operation Drawbridge is a proven force multiplier for our law enforcement partners, and the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol, Sheriffs’ Offices and DPS, who are involved in this program, remain committed to enhancing security and safety along our border,” said Chair Leon. “Thanks to this crucial funding, we will again be able to expand our ability to leverage this innovative technology to track and prevent illegal activities in remote regions along the border.”
Operation Drawbridge has resulted in the apprehension of approximately 16,000 individuals and 35 tons of narcotics since January 2012. Operation Drawbridge is fully operational today with hundreds of cameras located along the border. This funding will provide for additional cameras and related operational equipment. For operational security purposes, the exact number and location of the cameras are not available.
“With more than 1,200 miles of shared border with Mexico, Operation Drawbridge technology provides much-needed assistance to the men and women who risk their lives daily protecting Texas land, residents and our food supply from border violence and spillover cartel crime,” said Commissioner Staples. “This grant will help Operation Drawbridge expand its reach and become even more successful.”
“We are grateful to Commissioner Staples for this vital grant, which will help magnify the already positive impact of Operation Drawbridge and support our continued fight against illegal activity along remote areas of the Texas border,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.
The cameras involved in Operation Drawbridge are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by the Texas Border Security Operations Center, U.S. Border Patrol, DPS Communications, Texas Fusion Center and Sheriffs’ Offices.
Operation Drawbridge recently received two distinguished industry awards. The National Criminal Justice Association awarded Operation Drawbridge the 2013 Outstanding Justice Program in the Southern Region and recognized it as an outstanding criminal justice program that showcases successful promising practices in criminal justice. In addition, Operation Drawbridge was awarded the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communication Excellence Award for its innovative application of leading-edge computing and communications technologies.