Monday, February 27, 2012

The newest toy in the box, part two: DPS deploying military-style gunships in Rio Grande

The Texas Department of Public Safety will soon deploy its own mini-navy along the Rio Grande consisting of gunboats armed with automatic weapons, according to KHOU-TV, which reported that:
next month it's about to launch its own fleet of gunboats.

"It sends a message: Don't mess with Texas," said Jose Rodriguez, Texas DPS Regional Commander.

The state is spending almost $3.5 million in tax money for six 34-foot gunboats, each which can operate in as little as two feet of water. The vessels are outfitted with automatic weapons and bulletproof shielding.
The state's first boat is scheduled to be launched next month to operate alongside the Border Patrol.

"One agency cannot do this alone," Rodriguez said.

The gunboats will be looking for suspicious scenes, like another one the DPS helicopter captured in December showing 10 men riding down the river and sitting on bundles of drugs that were no doubt destined for the U.S.
Anytime someone in law enforcement says they're doing something to "send a message," much less in the same breath with the slogan "Don't Mess With Texas," that's a red flag for spending on worthless pork and PR-driven policing. The vast majority of contraband comes in through the checkpoints, not across the river. (According to a recent report by the Texas Border Coalition, "There is a mere 28 percent chance that a smuggler will get caught at the nation’s ports of entry, compared with a 90 percent of being detected between the ports of entry.") So why double down resources on the parts of the border - i.e., the stretches of river between the checkpoints - where smuggling has mostly been successfully restrained?

There's also real potential for creating unnecessary problems, starting the first time somebody fires off those automatic weapons toward the Mexican side of the river.

"Send a message" is code for "just for show." Patrolling the Rio Grande in crafts outfitted like Swift Boats headed up the river in Vietnam won't make anyone any safer or reduce the availability of drugs in the US, but the boat sure looks cool pictured there in the newspaper, doesn't it? And I suppose for the troopers it's more interesting duty than making traffic stops.


Old Cop said...

Jeepers H. Christmas! This is as bad as the 'Sherrf'of Victoria County amassing his own private army (Border Star)and military gear to catch and ..."put the quieetus on them wets". None of this is going to change until we stop this Billy Bob Badass attitude in the the Texas Criminal Justice (and I use the term loosely) System.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully,they'll manage to head off a few illegals in the process which is more than Obama is doing.

Prison Doc said...

Just think, in the future veterans of the Rio Grande boat patrol can run for President. They could even risk being "Swift-Boated" themselves!

get caught said...

Don't you the the odds of a smuggler getting caught will increase over 28% with more resources being focused on catching smugglers?

One thing for sure, if Texas keeps sitting with ass on its shoulders the odds will fall below 28% so this is a home run. Sorry, looks like all you potheads and dope-heads will have to keep your vices underground.

PS-Maybe you will even get caught for your regular contribution to the cartel as I am sure you aren't smoking "made in the USA."

Anonymous said...

You can not stop the SUPPLY. 40 years of "war on drugs", and the stuff is outsourced, better and cheaper than ever. Tom Clancy, "Clear and Present Danger" likens the problem to the Hydra, cut off one head and two grow back. GO AFTER THE DEMAND.

This whole rah rah paramilitary stuff is really comical and stupid. Cartel kingpins are laughing their asses off at our foolishness, and getting rich.

Makes one wonder, it the government really this stupid or do they have their hands in the cookie jar?

Yes the wind will blow and the river will flow red and white, maybe the blue is in too...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

2:45,you are misinformed about what Obama is doing on immigration.

4:22, you don't seem to understand: the boats aren't going to the spots where most of the dope is getting through. So no, spending money on the boats won't make that 28% figure go up at all. I'm puzzled why you'd think it would.

Anonymous said...

What an embarrassment and what a waste of tax payer money. Looks more like a political ploy and PR campaign than a valid law enforcement tool. Seems the Border Patrol and Coast Guard should have this area covered.
Just amazing!

love it or leave it said...

2:17..."Billy Bob Badass attitude in the Texas Criminal Justice System???" WTF you are in TEXAS bro!

Did you choose to live in Texas because you thought it was the land of wussies?

Jeez, just take a look at Texas History and especially the part dealing with Mexico. The only way a coward survived in Texas was by sucking eggs out of someone else's henhouse. Face it, Texas if not the US, will once again be at war with Mexico at some future point. Not to acquire land but because Mexico is full of citizens who choose to "tolerate" rather than stand up to corruption, drug dealing, and out-and-out lawlessnes, with the possibliy of civil war. One could only hope, as it would indicate that the people of Mexico have finally had enough.

Sounds like you need to pack your bags and move your behind to Mexico so you can truely enjoy your philosophy of absolute tolerance. But if you are going to continue to live in Texas, embrace the Badass Attitude of Texas Heritage and being a citizen of Texas.

Anonymous said...

There have been boat patrols on border rivers and water ways in Texas for years. This is nothing new. Calling these boats "gunships" is obviously your way to show your disagreement with their use. You would not call one of their patrol vehicles a "gun car" or any other military term.
Over the years you have not agreed with the wall, web cams, unarmed drones, border prosecution units, private security firms, boats, or the national guard being on the border for security. You mainly approve of using more money to fight corruption in law enforcement agents at the border (taken from your article dated 11-1-07, Laredo chief's bribery plea continues border corruption trend). In many of your articles you also blame the violence in Mexico on "spill over" from prison gangs in the United States. The president of Mexico also recently blamed the violence in Mexico on the United States citizens. It does not sound any more rational when you make this same excuse.
You also state more drugs enter the United States through check points. It makes sense more drugs would be found at a heavily guarded check point.

Anonymous said...


I don't believe you know much of Mexico.

"Mexico is full of citizens who choose to "tolerate" rather than stand up to corruption, drug dealing, and out-and-out lawlessnes, with the possibliy of civil war. One could only hope, as it would indicate that the people of Mexico have finally had enough."

Substitute "USA" for "Mexico" in your above reasoning and your logic makes more sense.

love it or leave it said...

Anonymous @11:48

Liiikkkee I said, if Mexico is so great and Texas/USA is so bad, haul your ass and get across the border before Mexico closes the border prohibiting "enlightened thinkers" from entering.

Your dream county awaits only a few miles away. One can only wonder why you keep torturing yourself by staying stateside?

Anonymous said...

Silly hyperbole.
The patrol cars don't have multiply mounted machine guns. If they did, they I think we all would call then "guncars".

Anonymous said...

Hey, 1:37 PM

I can assure you the trunk of a DPS patrol vehicle has a lot of fire power. The SWAT vehicle of any police department has automatic weapons and much more. TV video footage of any standoff or hostage situation clearly shows officers carrying automatic weapons and weapons with scopes.

Anonymous said...

Man those boats are badass! Is there a fund we can donate money so that these guys can have an unlimited supply of ammunition?
Hell, they should just run up and down the banks once in awhile firing for effect.

Anonymous said...

As a deer hunter who has property close to the boarder I believe you would be SHOCKED at what I see sitting in a deer blind. Many hunters are afraid to get out at night because of the traffic pouring across. The boarder patrol is so busy that by the time they are able to respond the illegals are gone. My game-cams have more human pictures on them than animals. I applaud DPS for this.

horse fodder said...

I will concur that there are a lot of people posting who are experts regarding the "use" of drugs and the methods of quality consumption of illegal drugs.

However, the people who repetitiously post comments that oppose tightening up border security or combatting the cartel business from entering into the united just getting high on their own fumes. I love it when az-clowns jump up and refute a point on the basis of biased & unfounded studies. Shit didn't the largest tobacco company cite a study that said that smoking is harmless? No doubt pot-heads are going to cite studies that high-times magazine would endorse saying "drugs are harmless, legalize drugs to stop drug trafficking..."
That's a bunch of fodder.
The US shoud publicly issue a policy statement that says the US will shoot on site anyone caught trafficking drugs into the US and tell Mexico they can seize or shoot any US citizen trafficking drug money back into Mexico.
Obviously our current President wants us to go to war with Mexico. Mexico was too poor to fight the US so he had his right hand man send over a stockpile of guns to make the fight fair. Don't hear any complaining about that on these posts?

Don Dickson said...

Whatever you think of this endeavor, there's no disputing that a boat that says "TEXAS HIGHWAY PATROL" is one of the great visual oxymorons of all time.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you the whole river gun boat thing is a political toy for Gov. Rick Perry's POTUS bid which thank God has failed. The same can be said for the Ranger Recon Teams he couldn't stop talking about while on the campaign trail. All this is political pandering. Any Trooper who has worked on the Border can tell you this. Putting a hand full of Rangers on 1,500 mile border amounts to trying to plug a 10' leak in a dam with your hand.

For starters, the river is international water. The road Troopers are waiting to see how this plays out when the Gun Boat Troopers catch one of these smugglers. Going to be interesting, as Troopers currently do not chase smugglers once they "splash down" in the river. Troopers authority currently stops where the water meets the dirt.

Second, DPS is spending money on gunboats while it cannot fill its rank and file positions due to low pay, decreases in benefits and scheduling problems due in part to the 450+ plus vacancies in DPS. DPS cannot recruit qualified applicants when it is compared to APD, DPD, SAPD or other large municipal / sheriff offices.

So while the "Gunboats" are nice and militarily impressive I do not see how they are going to benefit the State of Texas or how DPS is going to meet the demands of the rest of Texas while it throws money at the border.

Name withheld for obvious reasons.

Anbody said...

anonymous @ 9:09 am
"Any Trooper who has worked on the Border can tell you this. Putting a hand full of Rangers on 1,500 mile border amounts to trying to plug a 10' leak in a dam with your hand..."

Has "any" trooper ever told you that because that is not what they tell the legislature when they are asking for these toys. They pretty much tell how they are kicking ass and taking names. I nor anyone else in law enforcement can recall anybody ever infereing the bullshit you just spewed.

I guess "any trooper" or anybody for that matter could potentially tell anybody anything.

Sounds like you believe that if you don't look at the border and consequently don't see or hear whats actually happening along the border, that means nothing is going on.

Grits has a lot of good postings and some very good insight. But posts regarding the border are pretty much the product of group groping at the head-shop. At least be honest and come out and say your motives for your opinions on the border are solely self-centered so that you can have legalized marijuana. SO much so that you don't give a damn about the carnage that will come with legallizing drugs. The addict's modus of opperandum: "screw everybody else(family,friends, society) just as long as get my next high..."

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Good points 9:09. The border is the wild west and it needs to be secure, smartly. This is an example of foolish ego based spending of someone else’s money. I simply call it what it is, pork welfare program. All in all those bubbas down there sure got them a nice bass boat to ride around where they have no jurisdiction.

8:48 goes beyond the ignorance of the 80 year old anti weed myths with this statement.
“SO much so that you don't give a damn about the carnage that will come with legallizing drugs.” You might want to check your spelling there putata, its legalizing with one l.

The end of prohibition sure caused the crime rate to go up. Such carnage. We were all much safer when booze was criminalized. Booze kills more innocent people than weed according to national statistics. Booze, scientifically is poison. It’s foolish to think decriminalizing weed would do the same thing. You would have to chemically process weed to make it as harmful as booze.
Besides any real weed head that spends all day at the head shop discussing ways to bring down American society where the colored will be raping white Christian women don’t smoke that imported crap from Mexico. They buy American; even weed heads have some pride. I couldn’t resist the Harry J Anslinger quote reference there with the colored raping white Christian women on account of hemp. It’s still a racist agenda propagated by the ignorant to the ignorant. Like evangelicals.
Don’t you anti weed retards have an abortion clinic to market, I mean stand in front of? Weed heads can put the American government out of the drug dealing business by only purchasing locally grown organic products. Or better yet don’t smoke weed and/or cigarettes, don’t drink booze, eat healthy and exercise both body and mind. Perhaps we can eliminate the fat drunk smoking dumbass’s and make health insurance affordable for everyone, without being told by the feds. Now that’s a war on dumbasses like 8:48. What’s your BMI 8:48

Anonymous said...

The gun boats are more of the same political BS DPS has been dishing out since Rick Perry crony and trusted political hack Steve McCraw became DPS Director. Most DPS rank and file Troops are put out with all the money wasted on the all hat and no cattle border operations because they know money to operate statewide is tight and will get real tight after the next session. All the crap shown on the reality TV show "Texas Drug Wars" showing a lone Ranger Captain stalking the banks of the Rio Grande to single handily thwart cartel operations was embarrassing to many veterans of the agency. The gun boats and the Ranger Recon teams were nothing more that political props for Perry's failed POTUS bid. Now that McCraw has hired Rick's best bud Jay Kimbrough as DPS Assistant Director over Homeland Security, it might get downright scary because that nutty bastard is probably getting to work early and staying late trying to come with a way to send rounds from those gun boats down range to the south.