SOCORRO, N.M. September 5, 2012 – The Bureau of Justice Assistance announced last week that it would provide a third year of funding for New Mexico Tech’s anti-drug trafficking training program.
Dave Williams is the director of the Border Security Center for Research, Education, Training and Technical Assistance, or BorSec, which administers the program. He said the renewal of the grant is a good indication that New Mexico Tech is providing vital and effective training through the assistance program. The Department of Justice approved $900,000 for 2013, in addition to $2 million in previous awards.
The Southern Border Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Program was first funded in 2009. The program focused on threat to public law enforcement from Mexico Trans-national Criminal Organizations using the southern border as the primary gateway for entry of illegal drugs into the United States. Since its inception, 1,400 officers have received one-day classroom training or four-day tactical training. Training covers topics such as threats and tactics of Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations, indications of contraband trafficking, smuggling concealment methods, rural tracking, officer safety, emergency first aid, professional ethics, integrity, protection of rights and other topics relevant to policing in the Southwest border states.
The level of violence and drug trafficking in the border regions has decreased over the past year in some areas. Williams said many factors have contributed to the fall in crime, and the training of law enforcement is one crucial element.
“Though immigrant smuggling is down, there has been an increase reported by law enforcement and residents of smuggling of drugs in some rural border areas including southwestern New Mexico,” Williams said. “Increasingly, smugglers are armed and willing to engage law enforcement rather than lose their load of drugs and be arrested.”
“We have shown that we can successfully educate law officers in methods of detecting criminal activity and best practices for intervening,” he said. “With this third round of funding, we will be able to continue to provide law enforcement personnel with the lessons and tools to combat the violent criminals who have created a dangerous environment in some border area communities.”
Tech will use the latest round of funds to increase the delivery of existing courses ranging in duration from one to four days. In addition, New Mexico Tech intends to utilize Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program to teach a specialized tactical rural operations course. All courses supported by the grant will be offered at host agency facilities throughout the four southwestern border states.
Tech and its partners will develop, modify, and update course curriculum and training materials; reproduce and distribute “Surviving the Mexican Cartels” DVD for police roll call trainings; and, provide ad hoc training and technical assistance in response to law enforcement agency requests.
– NMT –
By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech