Border Lawman Tells Texas Politicians to ‘Shut Up’ About the Border

Border Lawman Tells Texas Politicians to ‘Shut Up’ About the Border

"Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson, who’s held his post for 14 years, is the chief law enforcement officer in Brewster County, the largest in the state—five times the size of Rhode Island, three times the size of Delaware and 500 square miles larger than Connecticut. It also has the largest stretch of the US-Mexico border of any Texas county. You might think, when it comes to the border, that he’d be ready for Dewhurst and Patrick to hurry on down and exact some Texas Justice. You’d be wrong. “A lot of politicians are running on securing the border. One’s got a six point plan, one’s got a nine point plan. They’re throwing tons of money at this border. I wish they’d just shut up about it.” he told me. “Recently, we had an operation where they sent game wardens out here to look for drug traffickers—game wardens! I guess they figured the game was secure.” Dodson’s family has been in Brewster County for five generations. In the early 1900’s, Pancho Villa’s rebels ran his grandfather off his ranch, and the family had to relocate to a protected basin in the Chisos Mountains. Compared to that, the border now looks tame—certainly not the way politicians in Austin are talking about it. “I think they’re just throwing money at the border for nothing. I think people on the interior see all these shows about the border where there’s violence,” he says. That’s a problem for places like Brewster County, the home of Terlingua, Lajitas and Marathon, where tourism comprises a large part of the local economy. “A lot of tourists will call up to my office and say, ‘Is it safe out there?’ We’ll ask where they’re coming from. They’ll say ‘Houston,’” he says. “We’ll say, hurry up and get out of there! It’s safer here than where you’re coming from.”" - Texas Observer, Mar. 1, 2014.