SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Seven Smith County deputies will soon be cross-trained as ICE agents, since Smith County was one of 18 counties in Texas to sign on to the ICE 287(g) Program this week.
Smith County was accepted into ICE's 287(g) program in January. According to Sheriff Larry Smith, the partnership between local law enforcement and federal government is necessary for the county's safety.
"What this 287(g) Program does is provides the training for seven of our individuals we are sending to the academy next week. It will provide them training to do whatever ICE does," Smith said.
Deputies will be cross-trained as ICE agents working under the supervision of the sheriff.
According to Smith, they book in at least three undocumented immigrants each week.
"Should they need to be deported because they've done something serious enough, once our charges are over and done, we'll be able to initiate that part of it," Smith said.
Smith said a fingerprint system connected to the ICE database will be installed in the jail and will become a part of the book in process.
"Those prints will tell us that person was arrested here under a different name, and this year and this date, for this offense so that's the beauty of being able to have access to that program," Smith said.
Smith said it's a system that will increase the county's safety.
"The seriousness of the crime they've been accused of or convicted of in the past and many of them have been deported. You had the one recently that had been deported 20 times and committed two sexual assaults; this will help put a stop to some of that," Smith said.
Five deputies will start the ICE Academy on August 14, the other two will start on August 28. Sheriff Smith said the fingerprint system will be installed in September.