Pinal County, Ariz.-This week I was privileged to participate in a ride along with the Arizona Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and got a first hand look at what deputies are dealing with on a daily basis. Although we didn’t get into any major cartel chases during my time with them, the education I received about a number of border issues was eye opening.
I started off the day by driving to Florence, Ariz. where the Pinal County Sheriff’s headquarters is located. I met with Chief James Kimble and he gave me a tour of the adult detention center. He explained to me that the Department of Homeland Security uses this particular detention center to house illegal aliens on a contract basis. According to Kimble, illegal alien inmates are in the detention center on average 28-32 days, but some stay longer based on certain criteria. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t conduct any activity outside of arrest and detention for illegals, the rest is handled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including classification and making a decision to deport.
Illegal aliens are classified three ways by ICE:
Level 1: Crime - illegal entry
Level 2: Dangerous with criminal record but not repetitive
Level 3: Dangerous with a repetitive criminal record
Let’s just say taxpayers are shelling out a good amount of money to keep these guys in the system and to determine whether they should or should not be deported.
(Side note: The United States cannot deport an illegal alien back to their country of origin unless the U.S. has a treaty with that country. If a person is in the United States illegally from a country like Somalia, a country which the U.S. doesn’t have a treaty with, ICE must either let that person stay in the U.S. or find a country that will take them.)
After touring the detention center, I met up with Lieutenant Matthew Thomas, member of the Pinal County SWAT team. Thomas gave me a ride to my car in the parking lot so I could follow him to the city of Casa Grande, which is a hot spot for cartel activity.
I hopped in his unmarked dusty Chevy SUV and one of the first things he said was, “Sorry about the mess, this is my real office.”
To which I responded, “Quite the office! I’ll take it.”
Thomas’s “office” was similar to a typical police car - with a few upgrades. He had an AR-15 style long gun rifle in a rack on the roof just behind the driver and passenger seats and a multi-frequency radio in the front.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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