Smartphone application gives sheriff’s alerts
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The Frio County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents to sign up for an alert registry on their smartphones that will provide emergency alerts regarding criminal activity.
The application was launched earlier this year and has proven to be a beneficial asset to community members as it immediately notifies individuals of on-going criminal activity and the possibility of imminent danger, according to the law enforcement agency.
The Area Regional Communications (ARC) Registry is a feature of the South Central Texas Regional Alert Network (STRAN), which is part of a web-based system that interconnects hundreds of participating agencies within the region and thousands of agencies throughout the state of Texas.
Users can receive Frio County notifications that include emergency notices and public safety warnings (wildfires, evacuations, HazMat spills), county watches and restrictions (burn bans, other important notices), sheriff’s office notices and National Weather Service notifications.
A mass alert was sent over the system on Tuesday, January 31, after a high-speed pursuit the previous evening resulted in ten undocumented immigrants absconding into the brush behind a county-owned park.
According to a report on the case, deputies attempted to initiate a traffic stop near Milemarker 93 on the interstate when they saw the driver of a grey Chevrolet Suburban traveling above the posted speed limit.
Deputies say while attempting to evade law enforcement, the driver nearly caused an accident with a freight truck before he veered off the highway and drove through the grassy median near Milemarker 98.
Officers noted that driver then drove the SUV into the brush behind Frio Regional Park before stopping and allowing at least ten passengers to flee on foot.
Four days later, deputies on routine patrol noticed a black Mercedes Benz and grey Honda Civic traveling in tandem along Hwy 57.
“Smugglers are traveling this way in an attempt to evade capture by distracting law enforcement,” Lt. Joshua Longoria said.
It was when a deputy attempted to effect a traffic stop that the driver of the Honda began traveling at a high rate of speed and was able to lose the deputy after turning off the vehicle’s lights.
However, several hours later, around 4:30 a.m., deputies were effecting a traffic stop on a vehicle for driving without headlights when they discovered it was the same sedan that had evaded them earlier in the evening.
The driver drove through a fence line some two miles from IH-35 and fled on foot.
An email alert from the sheriff’s office Sunday, February 5, notified county residents that approximately five undocumented immigrants had fled from a vehicle on FM 117 in Dilley less than a mile from the elementary school.