Valley officers train for smuggling chases

Rio Grande Valley police officers never know what they will encounter at the start of a work day.

"You don't know what kind of people you're going to encounter out here on the brush area, out on the back roads, on Military Highway and so forth" La Joya Police spokesperson Joe Cantu said.

That's why being prepared to confront armed suspects is key.

"We notice that violence going on on the mexican side of the border and hopefully it doesn't spill out this way, but if it does we've got to be prepared," a Sullivan City police investigator told Action 4 News.

Border towns like Sullivan City, La Joya, Peitas, Palmview and Mission are known corridors for narcotics and human smuggling.

"The ones that we have the most is pursuits," said Peitas/Sullivan City police instructor Andres Martinez. "So basically following another vehicle, but in that vehicle you will have 10 to 15 people and you are only one officer sometimes. So that officer will be ready for that situation"

The firearms instructor not only looks at the targets and provides feedback but he trains officers on how to deal on different situations such as helping a victim in the middle of a shooting or confronting an armed suspect.

"We are looking for this type of target, that way when the officer confronts the suspect, he will be confident that he will hit that suspect right on center, and that way our community and our children will be safer from a stray bullet." Martinez said.

Due to the increase in criminal activity along the border officers say they'll head out to firing ranges as necessary, to qualify on handguns and automatic rifles.

Their commitment is safety for the community.