IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa will send up to 30 state police officers on a two-week deployment to Texas after Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds agreed to a request from GOP governors to help fight crime at the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said Thursday.
A statement from the Iowa Department of Public Safety did not say when the deployment of the officers would begin or how they would be chosen. The officers will assist the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Critics said the deployment was a political boondoggle that would accomplish little, other than diverting dozens of officers at a time when they were desperately needed in Iowa. They noted that Reynolds in April declined a federal request for help housing migrant children who had crossed the border, saying: “This is not our problem.”
Reynolds said she agreed to the deployment, following similar moves by Republican governors in Nebraska, Florida and Idaho, after receiving assurances from the department that the absences “will not compromise our ability to provide all the necessary public safety services to Iowans.”
Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona earlier this month requested help at the border from other states under an interstate compact to provide mutual aid during emergencies and disasters.
“My first responsibility is to the health and safety of Iowans and the humanitarian crisis at our nation’s southern border is affecting all 50 states,” Reynolds said in a statement. “The rise in drugs, human trafficking, and violent crime has become unsustainable. Iowa has no choice but to act.”
The deployments will affect about 5% of the state’s approximately 550 sworn officers and come in an unusually difficult year for Iowa public safety.
Earlier this month, state patrol officials warned that traffic fatalities were spiking on Iowa roadways due to increasingly dangerous driving and vowed that they would step up enforcement. The state has also recently agreed to help Davenport fight a rise in gun violence.
The year has also seen the first trooper shot and killed in the line of duty in decades, an exhaustive search for a missing boy that remains ongoing, an attack in which inmates killed two prison workers, and a shooting that wounded a Linn County deputy.
Manny Galvez, a social justice activist in North Liberty, said that Reynolds should welcome migrants to the state rather than send police to the border.
“This is crazy,” Galvez said. “How shameful and an absolutely irrational waste of state resources.”