FALFURRIAS, Texas, June 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Brooks County Sheriff's Office has joined forces with Texas Border Rescue, a Texas based non-profit organization to establish the Brooks County Sheriff's Office Rescue Posse (BCSORP) to proactively address the rapidly rising risk of injury or death for migrants attempting to cross through Brooks County from Mexico.
Brooks County is ground zero for the risk of injury and death for migrants. From 2011 through December of 2013, more than 300 people died crossing through Brooks County, representing more than 50% of all deaths in the entire Rio Grande Valley region. It's estimated that less than half of those who perish in Brooks County are found. The number of unaccompanied minors and women migrants in South Texas and Brooks County are already at record levels in 2014 and expected to rise even further.
The BCSORP is a creative and effective solution for Brooks County given tight budget constraints and related operational challenges, allowing the Sheriff's Office to field an effective rescue response for injured, lost and distressed migrants.
By forming the BCSORP, Brooks County Sheriff Rey Rodriguez and Chief Deputy Urbino 'Benny' Martinez have created a proactive response team of experienced and skilled professionals with medical and brush expertise. This complements the recently announced addition of volunteer deputy sheriffs who have also begun working for the department patrolling in Brooks County.
"The Rescue Posse allows the department to have a much more proactive response throughout Brooks County to these urgent calls for help as well as patrolling the routes where we most frequently see migrants who are in distress," said Martinez.
"Between budget cuts and the huge spike in migrant traffic, Brooks County Sheriff's Department was in a no-win situation prior to the formation of the rescue posse. This is likely a historic turning point for Brooks County and we will see many more lives saved that would have otherwise perished," according to Eduardo Canales, Director/Organizer of the South Texas Human Rights Center (STHRC), an organization with an ongoing initiative to install and maintain water rescue stations for migrants in distress in Brooks County and South Texas.
In addition, the U.S. Border Patrol has installed 4 Help Stations, located on four Brooks County ranch properties to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses and death. These sites include a five-gallon water jug and a "beacon" where the distressed migrant can call for help. Despite these beacon locations, the Sheriff's department receives 90% of the emergency calls made from migrant's cell phones.
South Texas property owners frequently find bodies on their properties or sick or injured migrants at their door seeking water or medical aid. "We applaud Sheriff Rodriguez and Chief Deputy Martinez in taking such a strong leadership role in proactively addressing what has been an ongoing source of grief and challenges for the private property owners in South Texas and especially in Brooks County. This rescue posse couldn't come at a better time to address the humanitarian crisis in Brooks County," said Susan Kibbe, Executive Director of South Texans' Property Rights Association (STPRA).
"Texas Border Rescue was organized for just this type of mission. Our charter has us laser focused on assisting law enforcement and related organizations in addressing the unprecedented humanitarian crisis seen throughout the entire border region. You can't find anywhere else in the entire South Texas border region where the need for a proactive rescue response is as acute as Brooks County," according to Mark Medina, President of Texas Border Rescue (TBR).
Rescue Posse operations will begin in Brooks County in June and will involve teams made up of volunteer and paid Deputy Sheriffs from Brooks County working closely with Texas Border Rescue team members according to Medina.
SOURCE Brooks County Sheriff’s Office