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Border surge has compromised crime-fighting across the rest of Texas, local police say

A Texas Ranger watches for immigrants crossing the Rio Grande illegally into the United States on July 24, 2014 in Mission, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A Texas Ranger watches for immigrants crossing the Rio Grande illegally into the United States on July 24, 2014 in Mission, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2014 Getty Images)

State police agencies are making fewer arrests and fewer traffic stops than the same period a year ago, a drop-off that local officials attribute to sending hundreds of troopers to help secure the Texas-Mexico border.

The Dallas Morning News reports Highway Patrol citations have fallen 14 percent from the previous year, new investigations started by the state criminal investigations division have fallen 13 percent and Texas Rangers arrests have fallen by 25 percent.

The Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledges it has taken agents from other parts of the state to patrol the border as part of a security mission started last year.

Officials in counties across the state say they're seeing fewer troopers to assist them.

Denis Simons, the county judge in Jackson County, southwest of Houston, said the number of troopers sometimes falls from three or four to just one for his county and others nearby.

"It puts a little more burden on our local law enforcement," he said.

DPS said in a statement that it has already acknowledged some of the troopers now on the border were to come from other parts of the state, "and that we would work to minimize the impact to other areas or services."

Former Gov. Rick Perry directed hundreds of troopers and National Guardsmen to the border with a stated mission to bolster surveillance.

While top state officials have said that increase has improved security at border crossings, some lawmakers are skeptical or concerned about the surge's impact elsewhere.

"The truth is the rest of Texas is just a tad bit less safe," said State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angelton, at a Texas House committee hearing this month.

Bonnen has introduced bills that would allow DPS to offer higher salaries to bolster recruitment and fill current openings. State officials also want to extend most troopers' days to 10 hours through overtime pay.

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