How much would you pay for those border cameras?

Remember all those border cameras Rick Perry wanted to install so ordinary citizens in the comfort of their living rooms could help catch people entering the country illegally? How have they worked out?

Perry has invested a total of $4 million of federal grant money that he controls in the Texas Border Watch Program. Twenty-nine cameras have been installed on the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border, or one camera for every 41 miles of border. Internet viewers have helped police make a total of 26 arrests — that’s about $153,800 per arrest. And some border law agencies are not even using the cameras for police work.

Perry first gave the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition $2 million in 2008 to launch the border camera program. Progress reports from that year showed the program fell far short of nearly all its law enforcement goals, including arrests, cash forfeitures and immigration apprehensions. Only a fraction of the cameras Perry initially wanted had been installed, and the program had generated none of the self-sustaining advertising revenue called for in the camera contract.

In 2008, the cameras were expected to generate 1,200 arrests, $25,000 in cash forfeitures, 50,000 incident reports and 4,500 immigration referrals. Under the grant objectives, the coalition was supposed to install 200 cameras. Instead, that year 13 cameras generated three arrests, zero cash forfeitures, eight incident reports, and six immigration referrals.

And remember, Rick Perry thinks this program has been a success. Makes you wonder what he thinks a failure looks like. Stace has more.

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