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Local law enforcement react to governor’s request for more manpower at border

Area agencies say they have limited staff. Many jails in the state are short staffed.
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 4:53 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Gov. Greg Abbott is calling jailers from across the state to come and assist with the challenges at the border. But local officials tell us they are facing staffing issues of their own.

Local law enforcement say they’d like to help make the border more secure but they are limited on what they can do.

“We have 100, right at a 100 bed jail and we have to have all 18 people. And if we were to send three, four or five, it would just be, it would put us in a bind... I would love to do it... But right now there’s no way,” said Sheriff Gene Hermes of Burleson County.

On Wednesday Abbott as well as former President Donald Trump were in Weslaco to meet with officials and the media about the growing challenges in South Texas.

Hermes has heard about the governor’s request for more manpower at the border, but says it’s especially tough for smaller agencies.

“We are short staffed and it is hard to recruit people and yeah it just, it’s been pretty tough,” Hermes said.

Jail staff shortages are already an issue around the state, including larger counties like Brazos.

“We have 17 vacancies right now and the sheriff’s first priority is to keep the citizens of Brazos County safe and so that staffing we desperately need it just to run our operations here,” said Kevin Stuart, Brazos County Chief Deputy of Corrections.

Stuart said they just received a direct request from the Governor’s Office this week. Right now they don’t have any plans to send staff south. One of the big problems is logistics.

“It’s not clear, there’s not a specific request. Don’t know where they’re going. Where they’re staying? What they’re going to be doing? Who’s paying for it and so right now I think it’s implied that it’s just agencies that have the resources and can take care of all of those needs,” said Stuart.

The Montgomery County Sherriff has announced they are working on plans assist at the border.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell tells us he could send up to two staff members, if a specific request is made to them.

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