The Legislative Joint Border Security Advisory Committee voted today to recommend that the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office be the first recipient of funds from the Border Security Trust Fund. The sheriff’s office will receive approximately $219,000 to enhance border security.
In 2011, SB 1406, sponsored by Senator Steve Smith and signed by the Governor, established a website for the purpose of raising private money to improve security along the Arizona-Mexico border. All the funds raised at www.buildtheborderfence.com are held in a trust fund account in the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office. The Joint Border Security Advisory Committee oversees the project and determines disbursement of monies. On the first day of existence, 1,265 individual donors from all fifty states donated to www.buildtheborderfence.com
In today’s committee meeting, members heard from Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, a member of law enforcement for three decades and a recognized national leader in fighting crime along the border. Sheriff Dannels requested the money from the fund to purchase equipment to combat human and drug smuggling and all illegal border activity, as a result of the unsecured border. His plan is for a virtual fence, including the purchase of Global Positioning Systems, binoculars, handheld thermal imaging cameras and a thermal binocular, all synced with the sheriff’s office and its elite Border Security Task Force. Subsequent disbursements from the committee could include funding for a physical fence.
“The Federal Government continues to avoid addressing the crisis of drug cartels, illegal aliens and violent crimes along our border. The people have responded through this website that they demand a response. Today’s disbursement announcement is a good first step for this effort, and I expect the public to continue to respond to this mission, to hopefully shame the Federal Government into doing its job“, said Senator Smith.