SAN ANTONIO — Hundreds of Texas law enforcement officers were preparing to leave Del Rio Friday, now that thousands of Haitian migrants are no longer living under a bridge at the border.
The crisis overwhelmed federal agents, so Texas asked lawmen and women from around the state to flock to Del Rio and provide support. Many of those officers do not typically work near the border.
"Border Patrol agents typically go back and forth to their duty stations, but these guys don't have a duty station," Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) Director Kevin Lawrence said Friday.
Lawrence says that means transplanted officers sometimes had to forego showers, clean laundry and hot food. A caravan of TMPA members traveled to Del Rio to try and restore those comforts earlier this week.
The volunteers cooked, handed out clean socks and underwear, and helped officers cool off with ice.
"The biggest thing that struck our guys: When we showed up with a bunch of tents, the officers were almost crying. Just to have some shade," Lawrence laughed.
He also says his organization got some help along the way. One woman stopped their caravan to hand an association member cash.
"She was like, 'Are you going to Del Rio?" and he said yes. She opened her wallet and gave him like $200 and said, 'Use this to help those officers out,'" Lawrence recounted.
TMPA volunteers will remain in Del Rio until more officers return to their usual posts. He notes that communities will benefit when their lawmen and women return, since many municipal police departments are stretched thin.
"These are good men and women," he said.