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DPS boss says Arizona may commit more National Guard to border security

Arizona Department of Public Safety head Col. Frank Milstead. (AP Photo)
LISTEN: Colonel Frank Milstead, Director of Arizona Department of Public Safety

PHOENIX — Col. Frank Milstead, head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said it was possible even more National Guard members from the state could be sent to the border for security.

Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Tuesday that 300-plus National Guard members will be stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of President Donald Trump’s latest security strategy but that number could go as high as 1,500.

Ducey pledged to send 338 troops this week.

“We will see more come as we find needs and jobs for the National Guard,” Milstead said.

“Ducey and I have spoken and he and I will look for opportunities to put National Guard troops to help state and federal assets.”

But the law enforcement head said he believes there has been a miscommunication as to what the troops will be tasked with.

“People believe there is going to be tanks and rifles and troops on the border,” Milstead said.

Instead, he added, the National Guard with work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Border Strike Force that operate under the state’s Department of Public Safety.

“We can capitalize on this new staffing model to take advantage and do more,” he said.

While the so-called “Trump effect” initially led to a decrease in border crossings, Milstead said more people have started to come to the border again and this move would help combat that.

“It’s not about being racist or elitist, it’s about making proper points of entry,” he said.

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