New Texas intelligence center opened to battle border crime

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott authorized on June 9 the construction of a $2.1 million intelligence center in Hidalgo County designed to target border crime more effectively:

Officially known as the Texas Transnational Intelligence Center (TTIC), it will be operated by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and the McAllen Police Department, with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, according to Action4 News.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra testified before Texas lawmakers, “The center is where we can bring all those pieces together and put them together and solve crime a lot faster.” Action4 News also reported that every law enforcement agency in counties along the border or in counties that contain a federal checkpoint will be required to report certain kinds of crimes to the center, including kidnappings, home invasions, and burglaries.

Texas already is home to several fusion and joint operations centers designed to share crime information across agencies, leading some to wonder what will be different about TTIC:

Guerra told Action4 News that the center will differ from the Joint Operations Intelligence Center (JOIC) that’s currently operated by DPS, Guerra said, because it will be locally controlled and require the cooperation of all law enforcement agencies in the border region. There are currently six JOICs located along the Texas-Mexico border that fall under the control of the BSOC. However, Guerra did not indicate how the TTIC’s mission would differ from those of the other eight fusion and joint centers across the state.

Sometimes lawmakers find it easy to appropriate funding for any such center that promotes security and intelligence sharing. But often as the presence of these centers grows – especially within the same state – conflict can occur as agencies become territorial, or intelligence gets hoarded or falls through the cracks. At a time when federal agencies are attempting to streamline and eliminate information stovepipes, the addition of redundant fusion centers can add to the logjam, no matter how great the mission sounds on paper.

Do you agree with the construction of the TTIC?