KGUN 9NewsBorder Watch


Border technology used along Southern Arizona border tested locally

Posted at 3:55 PM, Jun 06, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Take a scroll through Custom and Border Protection's Twitter page and you'll find videos of activity along the Arizona-Mexico border.

The company behind the technology, Elbit Systems of America, is supplying CBP with its equipment. The company's Center of Innovation for Border Technology Solutions is even located in the Tucson-area.

“We started our program with the U.S. border patrol back in 2014. We leveraged some technology that we had, internally, and we deployed our first systems within the first year, from 2014 to 2015,” explained Joel Friederich, VP of C4l and Homeland Security Solutions.

He took KGUN 9 inside the testing site to show us how the technology works. First, pointing out one of Elbit's integrated fixed towers.

“What that tower is capable of, is electro-optic day cameras night cameras, and radar systems, it's able to detect human identification of a human target out to 10 kilometers,” he explained.

There are 75 towers like that one along Arizona's southern border--- some in Nogales, Ajo, and Sonoita.

But the technology is more than just what meets the eye. There is fiber optics and artificial intelligence technology in the ground in the surrounding area, known as the 'enforcement zone," according to Elbit Systems of America.

“We have all that data goes back to a command-and-control center, which is controlled by CBP operators to apprehend identify detect and classify items of interest that they have,” said Friederich.

That’s when he said agents are alerted and given coordinates of the person detected.

Frederick added the technology also gives agents the heads up to respond with the right tools.

“That could be, you know, of course, drug trafficking and it could involve people that are in need because they've come across the border, and they may have been in distress, because of the long journey, so they're able to dispatch the appropriate medical personnel or others in order to help them as well,” he said.