Lubbock National Guard soldiers may volunteer for border service
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - National Guard Adjutant General of Texas John Nichols says they are now in the planning stages of deployment to the Texas-Mexico border. This is a result of Texas Governor Rick Perry's order to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the region on Monday.
"We're working closely with the Department of Public Safety," Major General Nichols said. "Our mission is going to be to operate in support of them. They're currently conducting Operation Strong Safety on the border, and we're a force multiplier to them. They're working between the ports of entry, and their outcome is to deter criminal activity, and we'll support them in that. We'll be working side by side in some cases and directly supported in other cases. We're going to have folks on the ground, in observation posts, and we'll also have some helicopter assets with the camera and infrared capability for nighttime operations."
There is an opportunity for some of those troops to come from local units.
"We've got a call to all the units in the Texas National Guard, Amarillo and Lubbock included," he said. "Currently, a large portion of the National Guard is at Fort Hood conducting our yearly annual training. So we've got about 5,500 soldiers there that we'll ask. If people from Lubbock want to come, then we'll gladly have them come, but we are not going to pull the Lubbock unit entirely and bring them down to the valley."
DPS has given the National Guard power to detain people crossing the border.
"We could detain," he said. "We would prefer to deter by being there, being very visible. As we see people cross the border, we'll refer that report to DPS and expect to respond in a very quick manner. If a group came up and just kept coming, and said we give up because they're looking for anybody in uniform, then we'll ask them to stay where they are. Then we'll call DPS and hand them over."
The hope is to get some of the troops to the border in the next couple of weeks.
"Then we'll get the full, up to a thousand people down there no later than 45 days," he said. "So once we start bringing them in for training, we figure it'll take us about 20 to 30 days to get them trained and then down to the valley."
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