Pubdate: Fri, 29 Nov 2002
Source: Bellingham Herald (WA)
Copyright: 2002 Bellingham Herald


U.S. Border Patrol Deputy Chief John Bates acknowledged Wednesday that
he's had problems with the 32 new surveillance cameras along
Washington's northern border - although he said the cameras still
helped capture more than 100 would-be illegal immigrants and intercept
nearly $1 million in marijuana.

The cameras were the focus of a Seattle television station special
report, which presented the camera malfunctions as such a threat to
national security that "if not repaired now, could let terrorists
simply walk across the border into Western Washington."

Bates said the cameras had some bugs, but have been worked out for the
most part.

"It's up and operational," he said. "It's working most of the time
now. As problems arise in certain parts of the system, we note those
... just like anything, you work with them and if problems arise you
get them fixed."

The camera system was in the works for two years before its
installation last spring. They can pan the landscape or zoom in to
capture an image of a person or car from up to three miles away. They
are meant to direct Border Patrol officers on the ground to potential

Before the cameras, officers relied solely on tripped ground sensors
to alert them to people illegally crossing the border or dropping off
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake