Friday, June 10, 2016

New radios to help Cochise ranchers along border

A pilot program in Cochise County is helping ranchers report dangerous activity in remote areas. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation donated $35,000 to purchase 40 Motorola hand-held radios and signs ranchers can place on their property indicating they are part of the Ranchers Network and Patrol Partnership, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said. So far, 31 ranchers have been given radios with predefined frequencies to contact each other or the sheriff’s office. “The specific purpose of the program is to allow ranchers working in the most remote areas of Cochise County to be an extension of our eyes and ears and to be able to immediately and directly report any suspicious or unusual activity in their respective areas, most of which do not have cell service,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. The radios also will “cut out the middle man” during emergencies, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas. Rather than have the sheriff’s dispatch center relay information, ranchers will be able to speak directly with helicopter pilots and direct them to the site of suspicious activity. John Ladd, whose family ranch sits along 10 miles of the international border, said the radios will come in handy when he’s out in remote parts of his property. Ladd said the illegal immigration landscape has changed in the past decade. He used to see hundreds of illegal border crossers on his land daily, but that number is down to nearly zero now. Instead, it’s the drug smugglers and their lookouts who travel through his ranch. His house has been burglarized repeatedly, he says. “If you live in the rural area, that’s your big concern every day. You still have to realize that I can’t just walk into my house any more. I gotta look around and see what’s going on,” Ladd said...more

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