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Plan To Bring Police To Arizona's Border Is Welcome But Nebulous

Weeks ago, Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called on the country’s other 48 governors to send police officers to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. Since then, Republican governors have stepped in with promises to send police to the Southwest border. 

At least three governors have committed to sending officers here, those from Florida, Nebraska and most recently from Idaho. But little has been made public about where officers will patrol, what they will do once they arrive here and when they will leave. 

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels is among those who say the officers are needed.

"No. 1 they’re trained law enforcement officials. Whether trained in South Carolina, Florida, Illinois or Arizona. There’s a nexus to what we do in law enforcement," he said.

He said discussions about bringing police in to help started after one of the governor’s recent trips to the Cochise County border.

It’s not clear what police officers would actually do in terms of apprehending, for example, asylum seekers they might encounter in Cochise County. Dannels compared their assistance to that of the National Guard which in previous years played a supporting role to federal agents on the border. 

Federal law enforcement officials in Arizona and Texas have not condoned outside police coming to the border. But they’ve also not rejected the idea.

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Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.