POSTED: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 3:39pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 9:47am
Palmhurst, TX (News Center 23) — Law enforcement is stepping up efforts around the Rio Grande Valley and people are angry about it.
The Department of Public Safety announced two weeks ago plans to increase checkpoints. Along with other agencies, the plan is to cut down on car accidents, but also to make drivers have their licenses, insurance and proper registration.
"They have all these checkpoints coming up to get small criminals when they should be putting away people that really matter, and use the money elsewhere for the people," said protester Frankie Cardenas.
The DPS is a state agency focusing an operation solely on the Rio Grande Valley. The program doesn't have a stated goal or a timeline. In a press release, the DPS says the crackdown is temporary and short-term.
Wednesday's protesters say it has people afraid of police and is only in the Valley because of the large Hispanic population.
"There's criminals all over the United States. Why just here in an isolated area like in the Valley?" asked Erica Ocana, who organized the protest. "They're just trying to get to work. They're staying home for fear of leaving their homes, and that's just not right."
Ocana started a Facebook page where Valley residents post locations of checkpoints so people know which intersections to avoid. One could say it offers a way to avoid law enforcement. But protesters offer a more practical approach.
"We're just trying to get from point A to point B without any distractions, it could be going to work and we have to go through that and become late," Cardenas said.