By SARAH RODERICK-FITCH | THE CENTER SQUARE
Citing inaction from the Biden Administration on the New Hampshire border with Canada, the governor of the Granite State is taking action.
A joint task force comprised of local, county and state law enforcement has been established to conduct patrols along New Hampshire’s border with Canada to combat threats and illicit activity.
Gov. Chris Sununu, Attorney General John Formella and New Hampshire Department of Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn announced the establishment of the Northern Border Alliance Task Force today. The task force will perform patrols along the northern border to reduce crime, illicit activity, threat response and collect criminal intelligence in cooperation with federal law enforcement.
Sununu said the task force was needed in response to inaction to secure the northern border. He cited funding and lack of resources in his criticism of the federal government.
“The federal government refuses to take action on our northern border,” said Sununu. “They cut funding, limited our resources and have thrown their hands up. Without adequate federal support, the state is stepping up.”
The governor noted a disturbing growing trend among “encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list” along the northern border land port of entries, which he says have doubled since 2017. Meanwhile, Sununu noted a decrease during the same period at the southern border land port of entries.
“In fact, just this year, 85% of all land border encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list occurred on the northern border – while only 15% occurred on the southern border. In meeting with local law enforcement up north, it is clear we need more targeted resources,” the governor added.
The task force will be funded by the Department of Safety. It has more than $1.4 million in grant funds available to the State Police, Forest Ranger and the Fish and Game Department, in addition to local law enforcement agencies, and will be able to provide patrols within 25 air miles from the Canadian border.
“Our aim is to increase the presence and effectiveness of law enforcement in northern New Hampshire, particularly in communities in close proximity to the Canadian border,” Formella said. “Given the rural nature, expansive geography, and sparse population of northern Coos County, local law enforcement resources are extremely limited.”
The attorney general added the task force is anticipated to increase patrol hours by 10,000 through June 30, 2025.
“This will shorten response times to calls for service in the region, increase the effectiveness of crime detection and prevention in a remote area of the state, and enhance border security efforts,” Formella added.
The task force will serve under the “general supervision and control” of the attorney general’s office, in accordance with a memo from Formella’s office. The task force will be implemented in two phases, with the first beginning immediately in participation with the State Police. The second phase is expected to begin on Nov. 16, when the Northern Border Alliance Program rules go into effect.