AUSTIN — Gov. Perry Thursday announced the deployment of Texas Military Forces OH-58 Kiowa and UH-72 Lakota helicopters as part of the first phase of the state’s spillover violence contingency plan, which he activated on Tuesday. These aviation assets, which will help local law enforcement deter and detect crime along the border, will operate between Brownsville and El Paso, however the number and exact location will not be disclosed for operational security purposes.
“As we continue to increase our resources and personnel along the border to combat the threat of spillover violence, we are deploying multiple Texas Military Forces helicopters to the Texas-Mexico border to increase aerial surveillance,” Gov. Perry said. “These resources, along with Texas Department of Public Safety aviation assets, are vital to gathering information from a bird’s eye view and relaying important intelligence back to local, state and federal law enforcement on the ground to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
These aviation assets will complement those already deployed to the border by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Their capabilities include forward looking infrared imagery, video data link / streaming and a high power illumination system, “Night Sun.”
Additional measures being taken during the first phase of the state’s spillover violence contingency plan include increased surveillance of border activity by state and local law enforcement, the Texas Border Security Operations Center, and the Joint Operational and Intelligence Centers to ensure the timely sharing of intelligence information; increased ground, air and maritime patrol presence; and increased intensity of day and night DPS helicopter patrol operations along the Rio Grande River. Additional resources ready for rapid deployment have been placed on standby, including DPS SWAT Teams and Trooper Strike Teams, as well as Ranger Recon Teams prepared to reposition based on threat.
A porous border places Texas and the nation at risk from international terrorists, organized crime cartels and transnational gangs. Until the federal government fulfills its responsibility of securing our border, Texas will continue filling in the gaps by putting more boots on the ground, providing increased law enforcement resources and leveraging technology along the border.
Gov. Perry has a standing request with the federal government for 1,000 Title 32 National Guardsmen to support civilian law enforcement efforts to enhance border security in Texas, as well as a more recent request for predator drones to be based in and operate over the Texas-Mexico border to provide essential information to law enforcement on the ground.