EL PASO, Texas - Some ABC-7 viewers wanted to know what's up with what appears to be a surplus of hundreds of new Border Patrol vehicles, all of them lined up, space-after-space, at the El Paso station out in the Northeast.
So ABC-7 sought an explanation.
"I can understand how the general public might seem to think there's a lot of vehicles out there that don't move," said Joe Romero, special operations supervisor for the Border Patrol's El Paso sector public affairs office. "actually, what we have is a lot of vehicle that we rotate throughout the different shifts."
Getting asked about the row after row of Border Patrol vehicles is nothing new to him. Romero said there are about 2,600 agents in the El Paso sector. At the Northeast El Paso station alone, there are three shifts a day.
"Understand that this station specifically runs three shifts," Romero said. "Each shift can have approximately 40 to 50 agents on that shift. So when you're looking at that, that's a lot of usage. What we do is we rotate the vehicles throughout, so at some point throughout the day, all of these vehicles will go out at some point."
Although from a distance many of the vehicles appear to be new, a closer look reveals that all of them are being used on a daily basis.
"The number of vehicles we have doesn't even get close to the number of agents that we have working," Romero said, pointing out that shift changes have to take place on the border. "Those agents have already got to be out there. They're actually relieved out in the field, so there isn't that lapse in coverage."
Due to some lapses in funding, Romero said agents make it a point to maintain the Chevy Tahoe's and Ford Expeditions as often as possible. There is also a car wash on site, which explains why many of them still appear new.
"Rain or shine, day or night, 24-7, we have agents that are constantly going out there," Romero said. "The reality of it is, all of these vehicles are needed and so we don't have anything extra. With our current budget situation, I don't know if we're going to be getting anything new, so we have to ensure the longevity of the vehicles we do have."