Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels: Title 42 Ending Arizona Border
U.S.C. Title 42 Press Release
On May 11, 2023, U.S.C. Title 42, Public Health Service Act which has been in place since March, 2020 will be lifted.
I am authoring this public safety release to enhance transparency, clarification, and meaningful purpose to those seeking answers regarding the lifting of Title 42.
This nation has navigated a global health pandemic over the last several years and now, the health experts have released the restrictions to include Title 42 regarding this health pandemic. Unfortunately, Title 42 has become the primary Immigration Removal Measure for those that illegally cross our border.
Our southern border continues to experience historical numbers based on encounters, got-aways and illicit drugs flowing into our country. Our Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) professionals have gone above and beyond in the execution of their duties to safeguard our homeland. Many of your America’s Sheriffs have stood united with CBP as we complement our respective authorities and missions for the good of communities. This recipe of action-driven success has been a prime reason why Cochise County law enforcement agencies and CBP share a multi-badge application with a shared mission.
My commitment to you will remain steadfast as outlined within my Statutory Authority and Oath of Office. I yield to my past record of fair and equitable enforcement based on the Rule of Law in the protection of those I serve as a proactive indicator of the future. Those that violate our state and local laws will be addressed appropriately and within the scope of my authority. As an instrumental member of the Cochise County criminal justice system, my office will do our part to promote justice and reasonable consequences for those that violate our laws.
I will continue to bring educational and influential awareness to our citizens and partner with all elected leaders with high hopes that we can bring a positive change to our current border crisis. I am very disappointed regarding the current state of our southern border based on our nation’s failed policies, lack of prioritization, the rule of law applied in a subjective manner, and abandoned leadership by those empowered to keep America protected and safe.
Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Multi-Tier Border Operational Plan
Of the 15 counties in the State of Arizona, four (4) of those counties are on the international border with Mexico. Cochise County is responsible for 83 miles of that border with federal, state, and local partners. Cochise County Sheriff’s Office has developed special units to combat border related crimes/activities emphasizing on local level participation and enforcement.
Southern Arizona Combined Intelligence and Border Operations Center
The center serves as a local hub for intelligence capabilities, enforcement operations, and information sharing of border related activities among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The Operation Center is a place for Deputies, Police Officers, State Troopers, and Federal Agents to interact and prepare border operations to combat unlawful border crossers and criminal elements. The Operations Center will host the Southern Arizona Region Enforcement Virtual Camera System, Intelligence Gathering for State, Local, and Federal Agencies, Criminal Interdiction Safe Street Enforcement Activities, License Plate Readers (LPR) Intelligence, and Human Trafficking Investigations.
The Border Operation Center will allow future expansions with National Sheriff’s Association, Western State Sheriffs Association, Southwest Border Sheriff’s Association, Major Counties Sheriff’s Association, and International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The following is a list of Cochise County Sheriff’s Office units utilizing the center:
Southern Arizona Region Enforcement (SABRE)
Criminal Interdiction Team (CIT)
Street Crimes Unit (SCU)
Financial Crimes Unit (FCU)
Major Crimes Unit (MCU)
Human Intelligence and Trafficking Unit
Community Outreach Public Service (COPS)
Southern Arizona Region Enforcement (SABRE)
The Southeast Arizona Border Region Enforcement (SABRE) is a multi-agency task force targeting narcotics and human smuggling operations. SABRE has been very successful using approximately 900 surveillance/camera systems strategically placed along the US/Mexico Border to detect illegal crossing, narcotics smuggling and identifying open areas which allow illegal activity to come into United States via the southern border. SABRE works closely with other state and federal law enforcement agencies to successfully prepare and investigate cases for appropriate legal action and resolution. Due to changes in border policies, Cochise County is seeing an uncontrollable influx of unlawful border crossers. Calls for service reference Border Patrol assists have increased in the last several months regarding trespassers and suspicious activity.
Current SABRE statistical data for US/Mexico Border Operations is:
Undocumented Aliens – 139,917
Drug Smuggling Mules – 442
Marijuana Seized – 12,040.77 LBS
Meth Seized – 199.02 LBS
Fentanyl – 24.14 LBS
Cocaine – 8.70 LBS
Criminal Interdiction Team (CIT)
CIT is responsible for trafficking interdiction in Cochise County Arizona. This is done by conducting close patrol of known areas (corridors) of trafficking, through interstate and state highway interdiction, and through a high volume of traffic stops in these areas. CIT utilizes social meeting to interdict human and narcotic load drivers and pick up locations. The unit also responds to calls for service where assistance is needed from USBP and or patrol units dealing with illegal trafficking whether human or drug related. The unit also is responsible for assisting with calls, such as burglaries or suspicious activities where suspected Undocumented Aliens may be responsible. The unit also works with United States Customs Enforcement at the Ports of Entry in Cochise County to help support northbound and southbound screenings for any illegal activity.
Current CIT statistical data for US/Mexico Border Operations is:
1,306 Human Smuggling Investigations
89 Juvenile Load Drivers
882 Smugglers turned over to BP
40 Weapons seized
3049 UDA released to BP
138 Arrested for Humans Smuggling
Street and Financial Crimes (SCU and FCU)
In Cochise County, the 83 miles of the international border shared by the U.S. and Mexico has been described as a "smuggling heaven" because it is "one of the most remote areas of the border." The infamous Sinaloa Cartel has historically dominated drug and human smuggling routes from Mexico. These facts have presented unique problems for Cochise County Sheriff's Office and local law enforcement. Transnational criminal organizations have an endless supply of local low-level criminal networks to facilitate their day-to-day criminal operations in our community. Now through social media they have extended the recruitment to the rest of the country, and illegal operations have exploded.
The Cochise County Sherriff's Office responded to this unique problem by combining several high-functioning units and creating the Street Crimes Unit. The Street Crimes Unit conducts unified investigations targeting organized crime. The unit consists of deputies trained in specialized disciplines, such as drug investigations, anti-money laundering investigations, digital forensics, and canines. Through independent investigations and collaborative efforts with Federal, State, and local partners and drug enforcement initiatives, they investigate organized and street-level criminal activity within Cochise County. They are primarily focused on the detection and arrest of couriers and other felony criminal offenders involved in the smuggling or trafficking of humans, illegal drugs, weapons, and currency.
These organized criminal organizations exploit those vulnerable individuals based on “non-consensual” human trafficking. These victims are criminally exploited via sex trade, drugs, labor and gangs all for financial greed to enhance these transnational criminal organizations. We have established a network unit of intelligence and enforcement sharing to identify, protect and secure those held captive by these criminal organizations.
Major Crimes Unit (MCU)
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit (MCU) is tasked with the investigation of felony crimes committed within the county. MCU unit prepares cases for appropriate legal action. MCU is routinely tasked with investigating border-related crimes such as Border Patrol agent-involved shootings, and physical assaults on agents. MCU investigates UDI’s claiming allegations of sexual assault by other members of their crossing group or smugglers. They are also commonly tasked with the recovery and investigation of border crossers found deceased in the Arizona desert.
MCU consists of a sergeant, 6 detectives, and a crime scene investigator.
Community Outreach Public Services (COPS)
The Community Outreach and Public Services Unit is committed to fostering and building a partnership between the Sheriff's Office and the community by providing essential programs and services that promote an environment in which members of the community individually and collectively can help prevent crime, build safer communities, and advance the quality of life here in Cochise County.
The Sheriff’s Office is committed to forming positive relationships with all organizations within the communities of Cochise County. To help in this effort, one of the first changes made within a month of taking office was the appointment of a Community Services Deputy, which was shortly followed by the development of the Community Outreach and Public Services Unit. This unit is responsible for serving as a liaison between the Sheriff's Office and community organizations.
COPS services include, receive and coordinate requests for activities from area organizations and schools; communicate with district supervisory personnel on the requirement and need for additional equipment/personnel; maintain active communication with schools and organizations to assess needs and services the Sheriff's Office can provide; provide information on upcoming activities to the Public Information Officer(s) so that local news organizations can be notified; obtain or create educational materials to fulfill the needs of the requesting public; attend public meetings to assess needs of the citizens and educate them on Sheriff's Office organization and procedures; attend Community and School Events; and School Safety and Crime Prevention (Threat Assessments and Active Shooter Presentations).
Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division
The Patrol Division is the most visible to the public, and has more deputies assigned to it than any other division.
To effectively provide service to the 6,215 square miles that comprise Cochise County, the Sheriff's Office has six dedicated substations and one satellite substation with three regional patrol districts. The six dedicated substations are located as follows:
o Region 1: Sierra Vista, Bisbee
o Region 2: Benson, Willcox, with the one satellite substation located in Bowie
o Region 3: Douglas, Elfrida
Each area, or region, is supervised by a lieutenant and one or more sergeants. The number of personnel assigned to each area is dependent upon such factors as the number of calls for service that originate from the area and the size of the service population. Region 1 has the most deputies assigned to it as that area contains a population approximately equal to half the total population of the county. Region 1 is also the only region that has a dedicated 24 hours a day, seven days a week operation. The other regions often go to an "on call" status during the early morning hours. Due to the "on call" requirement, deputies are required to reside within a 30-minute drive of their station of assignment.
The collective law enforcement efforts and measures to secure our southern border and protect our Cochise County citizens and the State of Arizona has proven to be both efficient and effective. This operational model based on Public Safety, National Security and Humanitarian continues to be a deterrent and consequence driven imitative to hold those accountable for violating our laws and most important, the Rule of Law.
The expansion of this model partnered with our nation’s Sheriffs and fellow law enforcement agencies and associations and those elected to protect Americans serves to illustrate by action highlighting the importance of our Oath of Office.
These programs have been made possible through government and private grants/donations allowing this office to fund; equipment, vehicles, overtime, personnel to include employee related expenses, aircraft, detention costs, technology and miscellaneous expenses that would prevent most organizations from pursuing these innovative measures.
This office and I stand able and ready to assist any law enforcement organization and community/state to enhance our operational capabilities. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know, (520) 432-9505 office.
Mark J. Dannels
Sheriff Mark J. Dannels
Cochise County, AZ.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give my office a call, 520-432-9505. Thank You!
Sheriff Mark J. Dannels