Gov. Rick Perry has told just about anyone who will listen about his plan to dispatch elite teams of Texas Rangers to the border to do what he says the federal government won't — keep Texans safe from encroaching Mexican drug violence.
Just don't ask him for specifics.
While the Ranger Recon initiative has served as a strong rhetorical counterpoint when Perry slams the federal government, details about what the taxpayer-funded teams actually accomplish remain a secret.
State officials insist they do not tally arrests or drug and property seizures under the program, which they say doesn't have its own budget after more than a year in operation. They say the Ranger Recon teams are paid out of the state's larger border security initiative, but decline to put a dollar figure on the program's costs. Nor will they say how many of the state's 144 Rangers, the top criminal investigators in Texas, participate or where the teams have been active.
The Department of Public Safety, which oversees the program, said in response to an Associated Press public records request that the Rangers do no investigative work as part of the teams, but have engaged in about 10 "missions."