Border Patrol Wraps Up Olympic Peninsula Construction;

June 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

By Nina Shapiro, published: Fri., Jun. 1 2012 @ 6:30AM

The Border Patrol’s build up on the Olympic Peninsula is complete. Or at least the agency’s deluxe
new station is.

border patrol station1.jpg photo by Lois Danks

 

The Peninsula Daily News reports that the Port Angeles station will be ready for
occupancy this week and will house as many as 50 agents–more than 12 times the
number of agents it had on the Peninsula a few years back.
As we’ve reported over the last year, the Border Patrol has dramatically increased its operations on the peninsula, using questionable
methods that became the subject of a class action lawsuit and a civil rights complaint, the latter of which was vindicated by a federal ruling yesterday.
According to the Daily News, the new station is a “a sprawling,
19,000-square-foot remodeled building surrounded by a security fence and
featuring a kennel, three dog runs, a 40-foot radio tower and a fitness
center.”
The paper also took a look at a list of furnishings the Border Patrol has
requested:

The miscellaneous furnishings on the list include a self-cleaning
oven, a coffee maker, two refrigerators, two DVD/Blu-ray players, 19 picture
frames, an 8-foot-by-20-foot wall of mirrors and a mobile television stand for a
TV screen of up to 64 inches.

Blu-ray players and a huge TV screen?

Apparently, the agents need something to relieve the boredom that
whistleblower Christian Sanchez has spoken up about. Seems there’s only so
much racing around the peninsula–nicknamed the “Baja 500,” according to
Sanchez–that agents can do. And even the traffic stops and “interpretation”
agents engage in, netting longtime Hispanic residents in the process, may not
keep them busy enough. (See the lament by an agent caught on a dash-cam video.)
The Border Patrol’s top brass, nonetheless, still maintains that the expanded
presence on the peninsula is worthwhile. The New York Times, writing about the issue on Monday, got this response to its
questions:

What they’re focused on up there are the same things that we’re
focused on around the country,” said Ronald D. Vitiello, the deputy chief of the
Border Patrol. “That’s, you know, the threat of terrorism, the criminal
organizations that use the border for their own gain and being prepared to
combat those threats, eliminate the vulnerabilities that we know about and
mitigate the risk where we can.

The agency’s insistence on making the peninsula a major outpost costs money,
naturally. The station’s construction, originally projected to cost $8 million,
came in at nearly $10 million, not including an extra $2 million paid for the
property.

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