Border security revs up tech tools amid fed spending cuts

Paul Roselle hopes to sell the U.S. Border Patrol on his company's high-tech mobile surveillance system mounted inside a nondescript white truck to better monitor movement of criminals and illegal crossers who are constantly changing their routes to avoid detection.
Associated Press
Mar 13, 2013


The manager at 4D Security Solutions is at a border security expo in Phoenix this week that in normal years would have been a golden opportunity to profit from a government more than willing to plow billions of dollars into security since Sept. 11. But it's a different story this year for the more than 180 companies exhibiting their products as automatic spending cuts are affecting every federal government agency.

"It's definitely added more unknowns to what's already a long, drawn out acquisition process fraught with delays," Roselle said Tuesday. "We don't know what the government is doing and neither does the government."

Several high-level government officials canceled their plans to attend the expo Tuesday and Wednesday, and many vendors worry the cuts could mean less money to go around and longer waits to secure contracts, at least until Congress agrees on a plan to free up funds.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mike Fisher, David Aguilar, deputy commissioner of U. S. Customs and Border Protection and John Morton, director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had been set for keynote speeches at the expo, but stayed in Washington, forcing organizers to replace them with last-minute speakers.

Customs and Border Protection says the agency has been forced to limit travel because of the current budget environment in Washington. The agency didn't say how spending cuts might affect new purchases or contracts for additional high-tech gear aimed at border security.

"It basically killed the show," said Hitachi's Lawrence Ottaviano, who is here displaying long-range surveillance cameras with night-vision and thermal imaging capabilities. "By these people not coming, it's basically like trying to sell them a car without having a test drive."

David Rogers of Streit USA Armoring said his company, which makes armored vehicles, is just getting more creative with its marketing and looking more to civilian and foreign buyers.

"Obviously everyone in the defense sector is concerned about sequestration," Rogers said. "It's just become a challenge to go find where they're actually spending money. You adapt or die."

But organizers of the convention say the event is still an important and well-attended affair, even with the situation in Washington.

Eagle Eye Expositions president Paul Mackler said the federal government speakers have been replaced, and the event is still expected to attract a record crowd, including international security representatives seeking out new technologies for their own countries and officials from U.S. local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

"There are a number of government officials from the Washington, D.C., area that, because of sequestration, are now unable to attend the conference this year," he said. "We're disappointed they won't be here, but it won't hamper the program ... There are still billions of dollars that law enforcement agencies at all levels — local, state and federal — are investing and will continue to invest."





Frankly, the whole border patrol thing in OH is a waste of money. Seriously, how many people are sneaking in via Lake Erie? I see the border patrol sitting on Lakeshore Dr in PC or driving around not really doing anything.


You must live under a rock!!! LMFAO! The Ohio BP station is the busiest station in the Northern Border. Do you realize that Ohio is all farm land?? Who works on those farms?? Did you know how many drugs are smuggled on Lake Erie from Canada!! WOW this is what makes me laugh about the American people!!!! They need to wake up and realize that this isn't the perfect "OHIO" they think it is. We are in the middle from Chicago, Detroit, and New York! Huge drug smuggling!! And yes those Border Patrol may not look like they aren't doing anything but you would be surprised what they do here!!!

Tool Box

So maybe the Border Patrol should concentrate on the upstream side of the drug trade and not the downstream side. Once it gets to Ohio it's got to be at the end of the trail. They grow this stuff in Mexico! Beef up patrol down there, not up here! That's where it's coming across the border! I doubt they are growing pot in Canada!

Talkings hit

That's a common misconception. Actually, Canada is producing 7 Billion (CA) dollars a year in marijuana in BC alone. Read this link to get a better understanding of what the border patrol is dealing with concerning illegal drug shipments from Canada.


AGREE!!! Thank You :)


You think it's just Marijuana!! Canada actually has a HUGE problem with smuggling Ecstasy here and they have a huge pot problem there as well. You really think Canadians don't smoke and grow pot?? Ha-Ha that real funny!! Pot only doesn't grow in the USA and Mexico. It's not all about the drugs either. There are a ton of Mexicans being smuggled here to work the farms and taking jobs from the American people!!! Farms and restaurant work. I'm glad we have the Border Patrol here. You all need to watch tonight on Discovery "Under Siege" at 8 pm. The show is what the Border Patrol does in the Northern Border. It might educate you people better on what really happens behind closed doors that you don't see here. You'll be glad too that they're here after you watch that show ;)


Didn't Senator Durwood Brown want the miltary to put sonabouys in Lake Erie to stop all those drug laden submarines from coming from Canada!


I dont beleive for one second that they are here to take down pot smugglers. It amazes me that people compare pot with ectasy and heroin. There arent people committing crimes to get their marijuana fix lol. They are after Human-Traffickers. The sex/slave trade is rather large in our area. If they really wanted to take out the drug problem here, the goverment would stop harvesting all the poppy fields and bringing it into our country. When we seized all of Bin Ladens fields, we didnt stop the drugs from coming in, we stopped them from profitting off of it. We took their fields and called them our own. The government is the biggest distributor in the world of drugs. Just like the large quantity of weed that came up missing from Huron county. Its all government baby.


i would be interested to know what kind of Heroin related arrests there were before 9/11 and how dramatically they have risen since then.


Hey Mink,
Since you are such a strong supporter of the Border Patrol, which is all well and good, but I need some documentation of what they are actually doing. I have seen BP blacked out on the end of the breakwalls in December at 2 am, while we were out night fishing, plus at route two at 430 in the morning. Rt. 2, what are they running radar?? Anyways, what would justify their existence here is the cold hard evidence of work and arrests from these agents. I have no issue with them but find myself asking, what do these guys really do??? If they do something or seize something or someone, be upfront and go public with it. In all the time they have been around here all I have ever heard in the ways of openness is the fact they were opening their new station to the public one day. Other than that, not a stitch of info on results of investigations etc.

Talkings hit

Those were all valid points you raised. Here is a link to the local border patrol office that provides vague overviews of their duties. A phone number is listed as well. I'd be interested in knowing if/how they respond to your inquiries. Please let us know.

Tool Box

Budget cut. In my eyes, there are way too many of them driving around the Sandusky area with nothing to show but gas bills. Maybe you should post all these local busts in the local paper if indeed there is this much activity. We only see about one a year in the area. That, to me, doesn't justify the amount of money being spent by the government.

Talkings hit

TB, you're going to be irate when you read this. As a matter of fact, everyone who reads this should be upset. In summary, what BP does and who they arrest is none of your business. Don't like it? Go pound salt.


Here's an article. This is recent. You would be surprised what happens here and our surrounding areas.


Yeah I see more OHP busting people for drugs and I personally don't care if pot is coming in from Canada. I am more concerned with heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs being brought here which I doubt are coming from Mexicans looking for farm work. While border patrol might prevent some drugs coming in, it seems to me they're more interested in illegals and I am always being mistaken for a mexican just because I have dark hair. They've slowed down to take a look when I was in my front yard and once when I crossed the street to my neighbor's. They also have followed me while I was driving to the store. I need a 'I'm not mexican' sticker.

Tool Box

Ill put my tax dollars with OSP any day over Border Patrol in our area! They are good at what they do, they are transparent, and they probably don't use as much gas either!


Ain't that the truth! I saw 3 different BP vehicles driving around yesterday! Not one of them had anyone pulled over, they never do!