Posted: Mar 15, 2012 6:06 PM
Updated: Mar 15, 2012 7:18 PM
Police officers in the Valley could soon gain access to top secret information. The Department of Homeland Security is making classified information available to local departments.
Homeland Security wants local cops to know what's going on. This means law enforcement from all over the Valley could soon be working closer with the DEA and FBI.
The Department of Homeland Security wants to share classified information. Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino was cleared for the secret access three years ago. He says the government checked and rechecked every part of his life.
"I think the federal government knows more about me than I know about myself," says Trevino.
He says the extensive background check should ease concerns about classified information falling into corrupt hands.
"Us going rogue is very unlikely," says Trevino.
Eight investigators in the department have top secret access. It's a two-way avenue of information flowing from the feds to the locals. Trevino says they give as much as they receive.
His investigators used their top-level clearance when a sheriff's deputy was shot last October. That intelligence helped them connect the shooters to the Gulf Cartel. Trevino says they also gave the feds a solid case of spillover violence.
"To tell you the truth, I think we gave them more than they gave us," says Trevino.
Trevino says it helps beyond investigations. High-level clearance gives him a chance to talk with high-level leaders like Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. That access wasn't granted to smaller department chiefs in the Valley when Napolitano visited last month.
Napolitano issued the new directive for local departments earlier this month.