My first encounter with the Pima County Border Crime Unit was meeting with Lieutenant Jeffrey Palmer who heads up the two squads that work across the county exclusively on crimes related to border smuggling. “We are learning as we go along,” Palmer told me. It is hard to do things by the book, when “there is no book.”
One thing Palmer readily acknowledges is that they could not have fielded their unit without the support of the Department of Homeland Security. Through resources provided by Homeland Security his team obtained a helicopter and two small fixed-wings outfitted with special sensors that are invaluable for tracking down the smugglers. The Border Patrol also assigned two of its agents permanently to the Border Crime Unit. These agents help out in coordinating operations, communications, and intelligence-sharing between the county and the Border Patrol.
“They make all the difference,” Palmer declares.