After I read "Measure would use taxpayer money to fund infrared cameras," I thought to myself, "Here we go again," with another round of border tough talk from another Mesa legislator. Recalled ex-senate president Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) was the king of border crackdown talk until getting tossed out of office by Mesa voters.
According to the story State Sen. Bob Worsley (R-Mesa) wants the state - that’s you and me - to spend 30 million bucks in state tax dollars to plant sensors along the Arizona-Mexico border to stop the flow of drugs and illegal aliens. Worsley sounded like a Pearce wannabe.
Worsley’s already got a Utah company, SpotterRF, picked out to supply “a network of 30 radar devices and infrared cameras to send real-time images to the Internet of what they see in and around the border.”
Worsely, who is facing Mesa doctor Ralph Heap in the upcoming primary, is touting his plan as a way to make sure the feds, who have spent billions on sensors, planes, 20,000 Border Patrol agents and all kinds of electronic doo-dads on the border, are actually doing their job to secure the border.
Worsely plans to seal the border while neglecting all the crime that’s already here and growing unchecked in too many cases.
Sen. Chester Crandell (R-Heber) no wallflower when it comes to cracking down on cross-border crime had strong words for Worsley’s plan.
“I can tell you, the Arizona Department of Public Safety right now would love to have $30 million put in their budget to be able to hire some more officers, to be able to assist in drug enforcement, he said. “I'm not sure it's a good, wise use of money just to tell the federal government, ‘Ha, ha, we can see what you're doing and we don't agree with what you're doing.'”
Someone needs to tell Worsley the majority of drug smuggling going north and the return of proceeds to the south takes place on Arizona’s highway system and not through the backwoods and desert where he plans to spend the millions we don’t have. Too bad Arizona doesn’t have enough DPS officers to target the highway smugglers.
For an elected official who touted his multi-million dollar business success to get elected, Worsley appears to have an extremely naive and uneducated view of the multi-billion dollar organized crime groups that control crime in Mexico and continue to operate in Arizona with impunity.
Instead of worrying about duplicating the duties of the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and challenging them to do their jobs, Worsley needs to worry about what he can do to support state and local law enforcement so they can do a better job of protecting Arizona citizens and businesses.
It’s been shown over and over again the problems related to serious and violent felony crimes being committed here aren’t tied an illegal alien totting 50 pounds of marijuana on his back across the desert Worsley’s million dollar sensors are supposed to detect.
We have a real crime problem that won’t be solved by spending tens of millions of tax dollars on Utah sensors for the Arizona desert.
There’s a reason organized crime groups like Arizona and it has a lot to do with the state’s inability to mount an effective campaign to stop them. It's due, in large part, because the legislature that runs off half-cocked and throws money at boondoggles while refusing to see the crime that’s right in front of their noses.
I realize it's an election year, and Dr. Heap’s challenge to Worsley’s senate seat is real - the doctor is a highly respected and trusted member of the Mesa community - but if Worsley really cares about crime he needs to focus on Arizona’s homegrown crime problem that continues to grow unfettered and let the feds worry about the border.