Today we speak with Texas Observer investigative reporter Melissa del Bosque about an incident in 2012 near McAllen, Texas that drew international attention over the way Texas – unique among the four states bordering Mexico – has a state police force that on the border often resembles a military unit.
Two men from Guatemala trying to enter the United States were shot to death from a Texas Dep’t of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter in a story that is featured in the March 2015 issue of the monthly Texas Observer.
The killings afford a rare look into the inner workings and decision-making process of the Texas state police.
From del Bosque’s article:
Six months before the October 2012 incident, Discovery Channel aired a documentary called Texas Drug Wars. In the 45-minute broadcast, DPS makes its vision for border policing clear. “We’re not going to give up one square inch of this territory,” says Stacy Holland, captain of the DPS aviation division.
“We’re using tactics and equipment that you will see in war zones.”
To demonstrate, a DPS tactical officer, perched in a helicopter with a rifle, aims at a suspected drug smuggler’s truck as it careens along a busy highway in South Texas. “If you don’t believe in border security, you will,” says a voice-over, “because it’s coming to a town near you.”