The U.S. Mexico border spans nearly 1,954 miles. Although many agents try to prevent people or drugs from crossing. Agents may not be able to stop all crossings at all times, that’s when they turn to technology.
This past month, many vendors expecting to sell something to the federal government. From the latest weapons, surveillance, drones, etc. some get together to discuss the future of protecting the border. That’s what brought us to the 2017 Border Security Expo. It’s a place where industry professionals meet to see the latest in keeping our borders safe.
Event Organizer John Moriarty says there’s a renewed sense of interest in the border security. Oftentimes, border communities like the Rio Grande Valley may never know what technology is being used today. At this expo, the public is not allowed only buyers and sellers. We got special access. This is glimpse what we found.
A camera specifically designed to look for residue of explosive narcotics and chemical warfare agents. An autonomous drone that will film/livestream people trespassing into an area. Rubber weapons used for practicing purposes. Surveillance systems such as cameras, radars, lighting equipment.
There’s nearly 160 vendors here border agents and local law enforcement. Many of these items will not be sold and will likely remain as prototypes. Some are already used today and they are here to remind their customers that their systems are still the best.
“Well we’d like to assist the border in doing security and surveillance,” says Doug Carey from IEC Infrared Systems.
“There’s some interest in D.C. in using our products adding our products to the mix,” comments David Schnell from LRAD.
Traditionally you’d expect this type of event near the border. It’s the only one dedicated specifically for the US. Mexico Border. It’s taking place hundreds of miles away from the actual border.
“San Antonio is the closest we could get to a sizable venue and a city that is easy enough to travel to for people from around the country,” says Moriarty.
But it’s not just about the technology. Border agents discuss their latest statistics. Those with proposals for a border wall show up not sure if the same leaders would see their wall proposals first.
There are visitors making sure that people remember that despite the latest technology, human lives are at stake.
Such is the case with Erica Aguilar. Her husband lost his life protecting the border. She believes, “the industry believes in protecting America or our borders. That is why they create the equipment they create.”
There are those fighting for what they believe and there are those trying to keep the border safe. Either way they unite to make a difference.