AZ Border Security Committee Gives Final Funds To Cochise County

December 13, 2017
(Photo by Matthew Casey)
Cochise County Sheriff Mark J. Dannels

A state committee on border security has decided to empty out its coffers and ask the Legislature to dissolve the task force.

Financed by private donations, state lawmakers set up the Border Security Trust Fund in 2011.

The Legislative Joint Border Security Advisory Committee gave the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office about $219,000 in 2015. The agency used the cash to grow a surveillance program that uses cell service to send pictures of smugglers to deputies within minutes of being taken.

Now the Sheriff’s Office will get another roughly $55,000 to spend on the program. The cameras see places other technology can’t, said Mark J. Dannels, Cochise County sheriff.

“That’s a literal statement,” Dannels said. “Where we’re down in the weeds. Where we know they’re smuggling. Down in the areas where the normal traditional cameras can’t see them, can’t detect them. Where we can.”

Dannels recused himself from the vote on whether to give the additional funding to his office.