Feds fund border: Cameron County receives $1M for law enforcement

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded Cameron County $1 million through Operation Stonegarden to help in local law enforcement’s effort to keep the border secure.

Cameron County received funding alongside Hidalgo, Kennedy, Kleberg, San Patricio and Willacy County. Hidalgo County received the most funding at $3.5 million.

“Texas cities on the U.S.-Mexico border are among the safest in the nation, but we must continue to address the crime, cartel violence, and trafficking plaguing Matamoros, Reynosa and the state of Tamaulipas,” said U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, in a press release. “This targeted federal support will ensure that local communities have the resources needed to improve security along the Rio Grande and in South Texas .”

The grant has done much to aid the county over the years, Cameron County Administrator David Garcia said.

“The county has received funds to help augment overtime for local law enforcement,” Garcia said. “It helps keep (them) out on patrol to curtail any activity going on.”

Although having the presence of federal and state agents is important, it is equally important to make sure local law enforcement has the resources they need to do their job, Garcia said.

This is because local officers understand Cameron County ‘s needs the most.

“They know where they need to be. …They’re the ones out there in the community and the ones that live here. They really want to make things safe,” Garcia said.

The commissioner’s court understands local law enforcement’s needs and does their best to fund them with what is available, Garcia said.

“I think (they will) probably tell you that they will always need more to contend with the criminal element. And they’re the experts: they know what they need,” Garcia said. “Law enforcement is one of the biggest programs (budget-wise) in our county.”

Operation Stonegarden Grants were awarded in the following amounts:

* Cameron County : $1 million;

* Hidalgo County : $3.5 million;

* Kennedy County : $600,000;

* Kleberg County : $740,000;

* San Patricio County: $80,000;

* Willacy County : $140,000.