Texas strings border with surveillance cameras

Perry asks state legislature for $100 million

The state of Texas will spend $5 million to place hundreds of video cameras along its border with Mexico that will broadcast surveillance footage on the Internet to help prevent crime and illegal border crossings.

"We will post this video on the Internet?in real time?so that concerned Americans can help protect our nation through online neighborhood watch programs," Gov. Rick Perry (R) said in a news release.

The video footage will operate around the clock, with night-vision cameras operating at night. Citizens witnessing a crime or illegal border activity will be invited to call an 800 number to report to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The surveillance images also will be fed directly to state, local and federal police agencies.

Texas is spending $20 million on additional officers, overtime, body armor, new vehicles, night vision goggles and other measures to fill gaps in border security left by inadequate federal funding and action. Perry said he will ask the state legislature for $100 million in additional funds to secure the border until the federal government fulfills its responsibilities in securing the border, the news release said.

The Homeland Security Department's upcoming $2 billion Secure Border Initiative-Network is expected to set up a virtual surveillance system at the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. The program will take six years to implement.

The Texas video surveillance system will be established with voluntary cooperation of landowners in areas, including farmland and ranchland, where crime is known to occur, Perry said. Landowners will be able to monitor their properties on the Internet, Perry said.

Details on the timetable for the video system and the contractors involved were not immediately available.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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