Editorial: Border Agents Need More Support to Avoid Communication Breakdowns

Border fence along Juarez-El Paso border/istock photo

The Arizona Republic

The badlands of southern Arizona are treacherous to the men and women we send to protect our national border with Mexico. The terrain is jagged, the sunlight scorching, and the place teems with drug traffickers, human smugglers and bandits.

Add to those threats one more. Darkness. The kind that comes when communication radios are useless because they cannot transmit or receive signals.

Throughout the border area, there are “dead spots” where radio contact can be lost and U.S. Border Patrol agents lose their lifeline to the outside world.

While we don’t know yet whether a dead spot was responsible, we do know that Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie and two other agents lost radio contact the night he was killed by friendly fire on Oct. 2, about 6 miles east of Bisbee.

And we know dead spots are common on the U.S.-Mexican border because there are not enough repeater towers to boost signals.

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