This Monday, Sheriff Rhodes, along with Sheriffs from around the state met with members of the Arizona House of Representatives Military and Public Safety Committee to discuss the impact of border- related crimes on all counties and the need for continued funding from the state to help combat those crimes.
The sheriffs stressed that crimes such as human and sex trafficking, drug smuggling and other offenses that often originate at the border are not only a border problem. “Crime doesn’t stop because the criminals make it past the border counties,” said Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes. “They set up their operations in all our communities.” The interstates through Arizona are notorious thruways for smugglers.
The Legislature and Governor’s office has appropriated funding in the past to help law enforcement agencies enhance their response capabilities to these crimes. The Sheriffs described to the Committee the multi-agency, multi-disciplinary task forces they have implemented to address trafficking and smuggling, and the effectiveness of the programs. However, some of the funding that was appropriated by the legislature last year was one-time, and the Sheriffs stressed the need for it to continue if the progress made so far is to be maintained. “We shouldn’t throw away the investment already made by not continuing to fund what has been started,” said Sheriff Rhodes.
Governor Hobbs has questioned whether the funds for the so-called ‘border strike force’ and ‘border security’ have been effective and is evaluating the need for the continuation. “If the border-related law enforcement funds have been deemed to be not effectively used by some in the past,” Rhodes stated, “you can be assured that the Sheriffs will make very good use of them”.