The Robstown Police Department has a received a $472,626 grant from the state of Texas in order to expand efforts to crack down on criminal narcotics activity.
The police department will use the funding to hire two new police officers and one crime analyst, police chief Johnny Brown said. The analyst will provide the chief with daily reports on crime activity around the city, as well as monitoring gang activity.
The funding will also assist in improving crime and intelligence analysis and enhancing law enforcement efforts by increased patrol presence along U.S. Highway 77 and State Highway 44, which run through the area.
"It'll keep us (aware) with drug trafficking and cartels, and also the guys that are doing it," Brown said.
The grant will also pay for two new tag readers, as well as installing a Mobile Data Link system for 20 vehicles in order to enhance data gathering.
Robstown police officer Jimmy Wilson said the grant is designed to help police departments gather and use information more efficiently.
"The whole grant is based on building an intelligence-based data system," Wilson said. "It'll help us considerably."
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the money would aid the department in trying to stem the flow of drugs to and from the border.
"We must do all we can to crack down on criminal narcotics activity, which harms communities in Texas and across our nation," Cornyn said. "Law enforcement officials should have every resource they need to crack down on this dangerous activity, and this funding will help officials in Robstown carry out that mission."
This year, the Robstown Police Department has already received about $700,000 in grants to fund new equipment and overtime payments for officers. The grants have also paid for the installation of new video cameras in patrol units and improved radar systems.
"Everything that we are purchasing now is going to improve our officers' safety," Wilson said.
As for the duty belonging to the analyst in monitoring gang activity, Brown and Wilson said the goal is to stay on top of the issue before it gets out of control.
"We're going to stay ahead of it," Wilson said.
For the chief, the grant and any improvements it brings, be it combating gang activity or drug interdiction, is all part of the larger battle to prevent dealers and their product in the south from making their way into neighborhoods in Robstown.
"It all comes down to the border," Brown said.