San Luis council mulls rejoining border security program
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — The city council here is set to decide this week whether its police department will continue to participate with the Border Patrol in a program to secure the border.
Under Operation Stonegarden, police assist the patrol and other federal agencies not only in stopping illegal immigration into the United States, but drug smuggling to the north of the border and arms smuggling to the south.
In return, the city receives federal funding to pay for overtime for officers and mileage of police cars that the city contributes to the program.
The council is scheduled to decide whether the renew the annual contract at its meeting Wednesday.
Tadeo De La Hoya, a spokesman for the police department, said San Luis has a stake in Stonegarden, since the program combats problems that affect the border city as much as the nation.
“It a misconception that it's nothing more than helping with detention of undocumented immigrants. The program helps us with border security because it attacks problems such as trafficking of arms and of drugs.”
Last year, said De La Hoya, Stonegarden funding enabled the department to purchase 14 laptop computers for use by San Luis police officers during their routine patrols around the city.
But under the new contract that will come before the council Wednesday, the federal government will cut its annual allocation to the city for officer overtime and mileage from $313,600 to $194,880. Still, said De La Hoya, “there are other benefits (through Stonegarden), such as access to training programs for officers that remain intact and may even be increased.”