DPS dubs Valley checkpoints a success
Jacob Fischler, The Monitor
Dubbed “Operation Strong Safety,” the $3.4 million, three-week initiative in the Rio Grande Valley included increased patrols and traffic checkpoints in DPS primary jurisdictions — rural areas and unincorporated colonias — and ended nearly three weeks ago.
The checkpoints garnered statewide attention and became something of an issue among local residents, politicians and law enforcement officials. Immigrant advocates claimed the checkpoints were used to round up and identify those illegally in the country, though DPS and local law enforcement denied that was the case.
DPS officials said the random stops promoted highway safety — even when data show the Valley has safer roads than elsewhere in the state.
An analysis by the Austin American-States-man revealed that state traffic data showed that Hidalgo and Cameron counties lag behind cities like Houston, Laredo and Midland in crashes per mile traveled. Fatal crash rates locally were below the statewide average last year, as well.