Cameron County Sheriff's Office to Lose Potentially Ten Deputies When Current Grant Money Runs Out


POSTED: Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 2:50pm

UPDATED: Friday, September 23, 2011 - 8:30am

They serve and protect daily in this unique area, and on top of the everyday community crime, Cameron County sheriff's deputies also work criminal interdiction related to border crimes.

In the next month, their manpower could be dropping, a $2.2 million dollar grant that was used to pay for salaries, equipment and vehicles for 12 officers will run out, something that's a little concerning for this department given the fact that they already don't have the number of men and women in uniform that they need. The sheriff says as it is, his department lacks 75 permanent officers.

According to Sheriff Omar Lucio, Cameron County is ranked number eight in population out of the 254 counties in the state of Texas and our county spreads across one 1,267 square miles, most of that no longer rural area, but populated, and it's continuing to grow.

“When you have more people you're definitely going to find more problems we have to answer," says Cameron County Sheriff, Omar Lucio.

The call volume on a yearly basis is increasing as more people move into Cameron County.

"Fifty-five to sixty thousand calls for the sheriff's office itself, that's a lot of calls," says Sheriff Lucio.

So with less manpower and increasing call volume, what does that mean, if anything, for public safety?

"We'll have to evaluate where the crime is, if there's a specific area where there's been a lot of crime, an increase in crime, we'll move some officers to that area," says the sheriff.

Lucio says they've been here before, making adjustments to scheduling and patrol routes is just something they have to do, but ideally, getting these officers to stay on for at least a few more years is what they're hoping for.

As of now the Cameron County Sheriff’s office has applied for two grants, the COPS grant, which could potentially bring in five new officers and the Operation Border Star grant that would bring in potentially seven officers. They could receive either or, or maybe even both, which would cover the ten they could be losing.

The sheriff's office should know by October whether or not they're recipients of either or both of those grants, just in time for when the current grants are set to expire.

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