Ricketts: “Our priorities here in the state of Nebraska were helping out the state of Texas, and I’m very proud of our state troopers for doing that,”
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – After being stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border for 24 days, troopers with the Nebraska National Guard returned home on Thursday.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Col. John Boldoc said. “In the beginning, we didn’t know exactly what our mission was going to be. They just said, ‘We need help. We have a lot of crime, and we’re not able to stay on top of it.’”
Boldoc says that troopers went to border town Del Rio in Texas to assist other agencies in performing more than 500 traffic stops, 25 commercial vehicle inspections which resulted in arrests of several people for possession of narcotics and possession of weapons, while also assisting in the arrest of more than 15 people for human smuggling.
Capt. Jason Scott led troops on the ground at the border. He says they would patrol open country on foot looking for anything of criminal nature, including drug smuggling, human smuggling, trespassing, and vandalism.
“We would come across people in the brush country that had been out and lost in the brush country for weeks on end without water,” Scott said. “Drinking from stock tanks, sharing food, it’s a very desperate situation down there.”
Gov. Pete Ricketts acknowledged the possibility that Nebraska would not be reimbursed for sending troops down to the border, an estimated $500,000 expense, according to Boldoc.
“Our priorities here in the state of Nebraska were helping out the state of Texas, and I’m very proud of our state troopers for doing that,” Ricketts said.
Ricketts explained that because of Texas’ urgent need for support at the border, Nebraska signed an agreement saying that the state would not seek reimbursement, although Ricketts said Texas officials indicated to him that they would seek resources down the road to reimburse Nebraska.
The state’s budget accounts for some of the expenses brought about by sending the troops to the border, most notably troopers’ salaries. However, travel, lodging, uniforms to deal with Texas’ summer heat, and overtime pay were not accounted for in the state’s budget.
“We always make sure we have some cushion in case of an emergency,” Boldoc said. “So if we have to eat $200,000 or $300,000, I think that would be something that we could accomplish during the fiscal year.”
Critics had panned the Ricketts decision as a political stunt, with some suggesting that Ricketts should foot the bill himself.
“We stepped up to help a sister state,” Ricketts said. “I hope that there’s reimbursement down the road for us, but I’m very proud of what our state troopers did to be able to assist those people.”
Originally Appeared Here