Birdwell files 'stronger border, safer Texas' act

Staff Writer
Glen Rose Reporter

AUSTIN – State Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) filed Senate Bill 3, the ‘Stronger Border, Safer Texas’ Act, early Tuesday to bolster law enforcement resources along the Texas-Mexico border. The Act will support the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in their effort to staunch illegal activity occurring at the border and spreading throughout the state.

Some of the major functions of Senate Bill 3 include:

• Hiring of certified police officers at the DPS Trooper II level and authorizing 10-hour work days for Troopers serving in the border region, ending the current practice of periodically shifting officers from other parts of the state.

• Creating a DPS Officer Reserve Corps of retired officers who can assist police statewide with background investigations, sex offender compliance checks and other duties.

• Imposing tougher penalties for smugglers, and classifying human smuggling as organized crime.

• Cutting cartels supply-lines with new southbound checkpoints within 250 yards of the border to curb the flow of stolen vehicles, guns and money from being smuggled out of the United States.

• Establishing a multiagency border-crime information center in the Rio Grande Valley led by local law enforcement with assistance from DPS.

• Requiring law enforcement entities to adopt the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to ensure the uniformity of crime data throughout the state.

Birdwell, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security, commented on the importance of this legislation:

“The security and management of our southern border is the constitutionally-mandated duty of the federal government. In the absence of federal action, the State of Texas has shouldered the burden of stopping human trafficking, the smuggling of illegal drugs and weapons, and the potential influx of dangerous criminals and terrorists. I’m eager to help the DPS sustain and appropriately expand their successful efforts to tackle this problem.”

"Our 1,200-mile border demands a multi-pronged approach, including boots on the ground and technology," said Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. "While the Texas National Guard continues to serve an important and effective role in securing our border, I applaud Senator Birdwell's effort to establish a broader and more permanent solution."

Senate Bill 3 is an identical companion to House Bill 11 by State Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton). Birdwell and Bonnen are pleased to be working together on this important statewide effort.