KGUN 9NewsBorder Watch


Cochise County deputies rely on their own technology system to secure the border

Cochise County border barrier.jpg
Posted at 12:56 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 19:36:39-04

BISBEE, Ariz. (KGUN) — Driving along the southern border in Cochise County, you’ll see how different each area is— terrain changes and barrier changes.

You'll also notice construction material dormant after an executive order stopped Trump-era construction.

“The one most effective way of securing the border that we've seen is a three-tiered approach with both physical barrier and technology-backing, along with a manned response to illegal entries,” said Detective Kartchner.

Detective Kartchner's unit is called the Southern Arizona Border Region Enforcement. It's a unit that works with Border Patrol and is also a part of the Governor's Border Strike Force.

Detective Kartchner said when border construction stopped, technology installation did too.

“Technology's extremely important to what we're doing right now. Without that technology, a physical barrier can be breached it can be cut it can be gone over under around, and through that technology," he said.

Equipment meant to be used for fiber optic technology along the border is laying along the border, now unusable.

Meanwhile, deputies showed KGUN 9 several areas where they say the border was breached—each patch-up area is marked.

“If that fiber optic technology was in place— then the cartel would’ve come and cut out this section right here," explained Detective Kartchner.

They said detection would also help protect people.

“It would help us protect people that we're approaching that wouldn't climb over the fence it would protect tunneling underneath the fence.”

But there is some form of backup in Cochise County. The sheriff’s department has its own camera system.

“Now go back so spring of 2020 we were averaging probably three to 400 bodies. Illegal entries into the through our camera network, per month, march of 2021, the most recent month that we have your numbers for we detected 3,379 illegal entries into the country,” said Detective Kartchner.

However, the challenge still lies in the tactics smugglers are using to lead people in the U.S.

"This is what we call carpet booty. So they put this on the bottom of their feet and as you can see, it has carpet on the bottom of it. And when they walk through the softer ground, the dirt. It leaves very, very limited track where it's hard to see their track, so they're trying to cover up their tracks. I mean, so we can't detect or track. Here they are wearing these through the mountains in through the desert," explained Detective Mitchell.

When it comes to immigration reform and what that could do in Cochise County, deputies said there's a difference between reform and border security.

FULL SECTION: Cruzando La Linea: Border Watch