Thursday, August 19, 2010
Some sites on border called 'too dangerous'
Border Patrol officers are being told by supervisors to stay out of certain areas as too dangerous, Cochise County's top law enforcement officer said Tuesday. "Agents have told me - this isn't secondhand - that there are places where they don't work right along the border because it's too dangerous," Sheriff Larry Dever said, adding that line officers told him they are simply listening to what they are told by their superiors. "There is concern at the management level, at a certain level, that it's too dangerous right there on the fence," Dever explained. And he said there also is the fear of getting into a confrontation with illegal immigrants and smugglers right along the border that would create an "international incident … with across-the-border shooting." Keith Bocharski, a vice president of the union representing area Border Patrol officers, said supervisors do tell staffers to use caution. And he said there are times individual agents decide not to try to apprehend someone right at the border. But Bocharski, of Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council, rejected any assertion there is a policy, official or otherwise, of declaring certain areas unsafe. "That's the type of work that we do. It's inherently dangerous," Bocharski continued. But, he said, "I haven't known one person to avoid that." Dever stressed he wasn't saying there was a general order issued. In fact, the sheriff said, the directions given to officers vary from location to location. "It's not every Border Patrol manager," he said. "It's not every place along the border."...more