NPT Border: ACLU report finds ‘wasted millions’
A news release from the ACLU, with links to the group’s report, and a link to the Dallas Morning News coverage of the report. The El Paso Police Department (page 16) comes off pretty good in this report; the El Paso Sheriff’s Department (page 20), not so much.
— The ACLU report, titled “Operation Border Star: Wasted Millions and Missed Opportunities,” in three parts: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3. From the summary of the report: The Val Verde County Sheriff’s Department searched 851 vehicles during 83 days of participation in Operation Border Star, resulting in only one substantial drug seizure of 623 pounds of marijuana and no asset forfeitures. “As a law enforcement program, Operation Border Star has been a failure because it encourages police and sheriff’s departments to measure their success based on everyday policing activities like public intoxication, driving while intoxicated and disorderly conduct,” said Laura Martin, ACLU of Texas policy analyst and the report’s lead author. “It therefore takes the focus from the programs intended goal of fighting cartel-violence and organized crime.”
— Coverage from the Dallas Morning News: The ACLU study found that outside of El Paso, there was little police work linked to serious crimes. Instead, police stopped thousands of ordinary people on minor traffic issues. The 11 law enforcement agencies that responded to the ACLU’s request have seized roughly $300,000 and made just 58 gang member arrests – 53 of them by the El Paso Police Department alone. Of the 1,110 drug arrests these departments made in connection with Border Star, 95 percent of them happened in El Paso.