U.S. Border Patrol and the Texas state Department of Public Safety have begun a new, more cooperative relationship in the wake of the new Operation Secure Texas initiative, signed into law September 2015. The new Operation will last for two years, and will receive a staggering $800 million from Texas lawmakers.
The level of cooperation between federal Border Patrol and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is new for the two agencies. Previously, Texas was running an initiative known as Operation Strong Safety, which ran for a year between June 2014 and August 2015. At the time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency for U.S. Border Patrol, refused to participate in Operation Strong Safety with the Texas DPS, citing that resources were already allocated to manage immigrants coming across the border. The only involvement U.S. Border Patrol had with the Texas DPS was communication for the purpose of the safety of the officers in the field.
Now, with the new operation, the federal agency has chosen to fully integrate with the state agency, creating a far more robust network of resources, in addition to the use of the $800 million set aside for Operation Secure Texas.
The new initiative will take a different approach from Operation Safety Strong. Operation Safety Strong had a very physical presence in the Rio Grande River Valley, working to deter criminal activity as it was seen. Alternatively, Operation Secure Texas will use technology to detect criminal activity, then put officers and agents in the field to eliminate criminal activity. This is a more efficient approach, and is the main reason the federal agency is joining with the Texas DPS for this operation. The new operation employs strategies and tactics used by U.S. Border Patrol, making it much easier for both agencies to work together effectively.