The award honors their efforts for partnering with the local community and stakeholders to improve border security and community safety
WASHINGTON—The Falfurrias Border Patrol Station has been honored with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/Cisco Community Policing Award for their efforts in partnering with the local community and stakeholders to improve community relations and prevent criminal organizations from operating in Brooks County, Texas.
The Falfurrias Border Patrol Station worked directly with community stakeholders to draft the Falfurrias Station Strategic Plan 2020, which outlines various initiatives, programs and best practices to improve border security and community safety. It is a whole-of-community approach that has already produced significant results including decreases in drug smuggling and migrant deaths as well as an increase in prosecutions.
“We are extremely proud of the U.S. Border Patrol Agents from the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “As a former chief of police, I know how important it is to work directly with the local community to prevent crime and promote community safety. The Falfurrias Border Patrol Station has put forth a tremendous effort in working with the community to implement a plan to improve safety and border security in their area of responsibility.”
In its first full year of implementation, the community policing approach has resulted in a 68 percent reduction in narcotics smuggling, a 154 percent increase in rescues, a 34 percent reduction in migrant deaths, and a 73 percent increase in total prosecutions. In addition, the plan has improved information-sharing and relationships among community stakeholders and increased confidence and trust between law enforcement and community partners.
"Border security and community safety are interrelated team sports. Our goal was simple, to make our community network stronger than the network that supports transnational criminal organizations and their illicit activity,” said Doyle Amidon, U.S. Border Patrol division chief of operations for Laredo Sector, who was the former patrol agent in charge at Falfurrias during the creation of the plan. “Our approach was novel in that the plan was not built in isolation; it was built together with the direct assistance of our law enforcement partners and key members of the Brooks County ranching community. I cannot think of a better way to implement community policing practices than to build a solid plan, together."
The Station’s strategic plan created four collective community goals to: improve operational capability and awareness; enhance communications; increase doctrinal and institutional development; and focus on employee development, morale and team safety. As part of the plan, the U.S. Border Patrol developed several community policing initiatives including the Falfurrias Intelligence Group/Law Enforcement Executive Steering Committee; the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station Ranchers’ Executive Forum; and expanded the Border Community Liaison team and the Non-Governmental Organization Information Sharing/Missing Migrant Initiatives with the South Texas Human Rights Center.
“I am very proud of the agents from the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station,” said U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan. “Their innovative and collaborative approach to border security has set an example for Border Patrol Stations around the country.”
The Falfurrias Station invested in its Border Community Liaison (BCL) Program to provide the community and stakeholders a designated point of contact to help facilitate communication between the community and the Border Patrol Station. The BCLs worked closely with non-governmental organizations to increase information sharing to help search for missing persons and to further prevent migrant deaths.
The Falfurrias Border Patrol Station is located 70 miles north of the U.S./Mexico international border in one of the busiest illegal immigrant and narcotics trafficking corridors in the nation. The Station’s area of responsibility encompasses 1,105 square miles of Brooks County, Texas and southern Jim Wells County, Texas, and consists primarily of privately owned ranchland. Falfurrias U.S. Border Patrol agents inspect more than 10,000 vehicles, including 2,500 commercial tractor-trailers, per day through an immigration inspection traffic checkpoint on Highway 281.