Cuellar, Asst. Defense Secretary meet with first responders
Congressman Henry Cuellar, (DLaredo), hosted Defense Department Assistant Secretary Paul N. Stockton and South Texas first responders at Laredo Community College to discuss the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative, which coordinates the Department’s efforts to transfer technology, items and equipment to Federal, State and local first responders.
More than 100 first-responders and government officials participated in the briefing, where Asst. Secretary Stockton and Defense officials detailed programs for military equipment and technology acquisition. Congressman Cuellar and local first responders held a press briefing immediately following the meeting.
“Public safety and homeland security are top priorities for me in Congress,” Congressman Cuellar said. “The programs we discussed today provide a way for taxpayer investments in defense technology and equipment to be leveraged and brought back to our communities. I thank Assistant Secretary Stockton for visiting my district and meeting with the men and women who are dedicated to safeguarding our communities.”
Sheriffs, constables, police chiefs and firefighters from counties including Webb, Hidalgo, La Salle, Atascosa, Maverick, Guadalupe and Wilson participated in Laredo or via videoconference from Congressman Cuellar’s offices in Floresville, San Antonio and Mission. The presentation included an engaging question-and-answer session with Defense Department officials about topics including the transfer of excess military property to law enforcement agencies at no cost to the receiving agency and the purchase of items used in counter-drug or counter-terrorism activities.
This unprecedented visit by Asst. Secretary Stockton to Laredo marked a unique opportunity for South Texas first responders and government officials to discuss critical ways to help boost their resources and enhance border security. Congressman Cuellar and Asst. Secretary Stockton were also joined by Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, Customs and Border Protection Laredo Director of Field Operations Gene Garza and U.S. Border Patrol Laredo Sector Chief Robert L. Harris.