State police troopers deploy to Texas to boost border security efforts

Wednesday April 3, 2024

Boise, Idaho - Two teams of Idaho State Police (ISP) troopers headed out today on a three-week deployment to help the State of Texas secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

The send-off for ISP took place this morning in front of the Idaho Capitol after Governor Brad Little took the troopers to breakfast at locally owned Moon’s Café in Boise.

Governor Little announced the three-week mission during his State of the State and Budget Address in January, saying the focus of the next mission is on human trafficking.

“The cartel and other bad actors are taking advantage of our open border to manipulate and abuse the most vulnerable, including children,” Governor Little said in his State of the State speech. “To help curb human trafficking, my IDAHO WORKS plan calls for sending two more teams of Idaho State Police troopers to train and act as a force multiplier at our lawless southern border, as we did with fentanyl twice before.”

About the April border mission:

In an innovative effort to combat human trafficking, ISP troopers will team up with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for a strategic 21-day mission focused on disrupting human trafficking activities along the Texas-Mexico border.

The collaboration aims to deepen troopers' understanding of trafficking operations through joint patrols, representing a significant interstate effort.

The mission will aid law enforcement efforts and enrich education and training programs for law enforcement in Idaho. Insights from the mission will be integrated into the Domestic Highway Enforcement (DHE) courses for Idaho law enforcement, leveraging firsthand experience to bolster the fight against human trafficking. This partnership highlights a proactive, shared commitment to public safety and eradicating trafficking networks.

The State of Idaho’s partnership with Texas DPS has two-fold benefits. The troopers serve as a force multiplier, amplifying efforts in combating human trafficking for the State of Texas. Additionally, the mission provides valuable training opportunities for ISP troopers who will return to Idaho and leverage their expertise and resources to train other law enforcement agencies and help safeguard communities against drug and human traffickers.

"Sending our Idaho State troopers to the Texas border for real-world training on human trafficking is a crucial measure in our fight against this heinous crime. Our troopers will gain invaluable insights and firsthand experience, which they will use to protect our communities more effectively. We are determined to utilize this training to enhance our efforts in Idaho and to combat human trafficking with utmost efficiency, thereby ensuring the safety and well-being of our citizens,” ISP Colonel Kedrick Wills said. “It's vital for our troopers to face repeated real-world scenarios to sharpen their skills. Each encounter is a chance to refine techniques, deepen understanding, and fortify resolve against human trafficking. Continuous practice cultivates proficiency and unwavering commitment to community safety. Complacency is not an option. Intense and dedicated training ensures we're prepared to tackle any challenge."

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Additional actions Governor Little has taken to help secure the border include:

In September of 2021, he joined half of the nation’s governors in issuing a joint letter to President Joe Biden requesting a meeting within 15 days to discuss the crisis at the southern border. The invitation for the President to listen had followed another request they sent earlier that year, which also went unanswered.

Following the 15-day period with no response from the Biden administration, Governor Little and other governors released 10 policy solutions the administration could enact immediately to protect America, restore security, and put us on a path to end the crisis at the southern border. The administration never responded, and the border crisis has only become more deadly and dangerous for both Americans and migrants in the time that has passed.

Governor Little sent a team of specialized state troopers to Arizona in 2021 to assist with drug interdiction, and joined half the nations’ governors in creating the American Governors’ Border Strike Force. He also joined a lawsuit challenging Biden’s Title 42 border decision.

Governor Little also hosted a roundtable with Idaho law enforcement in 2021 to discuss Idaho’s growing drug threat and the connection to the U.S.-Mexico border, and created Operation Esto Perpetua in March of 2022 to protect our children from drugs. Governor Little recommended and the Legislature approved $250,000 to carry out objectives of the initiative, and they directed another $1 million  to fight the deadly impacts of fentanyl. Governor Little’s Idaho First plan included even more resources to fight fentanyl.

In May of 2023, Governor Little announced the deployment of two teams of Idaho State Police troopers to the border of Texas to provide assistance to their efforts to secure the border as well as enhance the knowledge of our own law enforcement techniques through hands-on experience with cross-border smuggling, human trafficking, and drug interdiction. The teams then returned to Idaho to train other law enforcement agencies within the state. This fulfills a commitment Governor Little made in his State of the State and Budget Address that year.

In May of 2023, Governor Little traveled to Texas to attend a border security briefing alongside nine other governors to receive an overview of Operation Lone Star. This included an explanation of the tools and strategies that the State of Texas has found effective to deter and repel illegal immigration along the border with Mexico. This briefing was hosted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Military Department, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Texas Border Czar, who all provided on-the-ground intelligence about the border crisis. Governor Abbott recognized the assistance Idaho and Florida have provided for Texas, and since then, thirteen states had provided more than 1,300 guardsmen and more than 230 law enforcement personnel to attempt to slow to flow of drugs into the United States.

After his return, Governor Little assembled a roundtable of law enforcement, legislators, and others to discuss and determine new ways that Idaho can continue to provide assistance to border states as well as to gain additional experience on drug interdiction to protect our Idaho communities.

In 2024, Governor Little announced in his State of the State and Budget Address that he would send another two teams of state troopers to Texas with a focus on assisting with and learning about tactics to deter human trafficking, and he signed on to a 25-Governor statement supporting the State of Texas’ efforts to defend and protect America from the consequences of the open border. He joined 13 other governors on a trip to Eagle Pass, Texas, and issued a proclamation declaring Idaho stands with the State of Texas in its border security efforts. He issued an executive order expanding Operation Esto Perpetua beyond fentanyl to include human trafficking and signed two bills into law that strengthen the state's fight against human traffickers.