Arizona

Border ranchers with few options now have police radios

  • Cattle rancher John Ladd holds his new radio issued by the Cochise County Sheriff's Department for use in cases of emergency near Naco, Ariz., about 10 miles of it sits on the international border on Thursday, June 9, 2016. Ladd says drug smugglers frequently cross through his land and have burglarized his home on several occasions. The radios were handed out to about 30 border ranchers so they could have faster communication with 911 dispatchers. (AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)

    Cattle rancher John Ladd holds his new radio issued by the Cochise County Sheriff's Department for use in cases of emergency near Naco, Ariz., about 10 miles of it sits on the international border on Thursday, June 9, 2016. Ladd says drug smugglers frequently cross through his land and have burglarized his home on several occasions. The radios were handed out to about 30 border ranchers so they could have faster communication with 911 dispatchers. (AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)  (The Associated Press)

  • A sign from the Cochise County Sheriff's Department hangs in front of the San Jose Ranch, which shares 10 miles with the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona near Naco, Ariz., on Thursday, June 9, 2016. Ranch owner John Ladd is one of about 30 border ranchers who received police radios from the Cochise County Sheriff's Department this week so that they could more easily communicate with 911 when they are in remote areas that have poor cell phone signal. The ranchers say that drug smugglers and other criminals frequently cross through their land, putting them in danger.  (AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)

    A sign from the Cochise County Sheriff's Department hangs in front of the San Jose Ranch, which shares 10 miles with the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona near Naco, Ariz., on Thursday, June 9, 2016. Ranch owner John Ladd is one of about 30 border ranchers who received police radios from the Cochise County Sheriff's Department this week so that they could more easily communicate with 911 when they are in remote areas that have poor cell phone signal. The ranchers say that drug smugglers and other criminals frequently cross through their land, putting them in danger. (AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cattle rancher John Ladd holds his new radio issued by the Cochise County Sheriff's Department for use in cases of emergency near Naco, Ariz., about 10 miles of it sits on the international border on Thursday, June 9, 2016. Ladd says drug smugglers frequently cross through his land and have burglarized his home on several occasions. The radios were handed out to about 30 border ranchers so they could have faster communication with 911 dispatchers. (AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)

    Cattle rancher John Ladd holds his new radio issued by the Cochise County Sheriff's Department for use in cases of emergency near Naco, Ariz., about 10 miles of it sits on the international border on Thursday, June 9, 2016. Ladd says drug smugglers frequently cross through his land and have burglarized his home on several occasions. The radios were handed out to about 30 border ranchers so they could have faster communication with 911 dispatchers. (AP Photo/Astrid Galvan)  (The Associated Press)

Southern Arizona ranchers who often encounter drug smugglers now have a new way to get help in emergencies: sheriff-issued radios that connect them directly to 911 dispatchers.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels says it's the first time anywhere in the U.S. that citizens have had radios used by police.

So far 31 ranchers along the Arizona-Mexico border have taken the new handheld radios issued by the county

He said the 2010 killing of rancher Rob Krentz led to increased security and more communication between ranchers and authorities.

The sheriff's office now has a team dedicated to patrolling ranches.

John Ladd, whose family ranch sits along 10 miles of the international border, says the radios will come in handy when he's in remote parts of his ranch where there is a poor cellphone signal.