It's not a sales pitch heard too often in the Rio Grande Valley. Farmers and ranchers here — used to haggling over the price of feed, irrigation rights and labor costs — have a new, tax-deductible option for improving their businesses......And the company offering it promises to take a bullet for its client.
International Security Agency, a private security firm with offices in Colorado and Houston, announced last week in McAllen that it has received the required licenses from the Texas Department of Public Safety to operate locally. Its mission is to stop cartel-style violence in the United States before it starts. The sales pitch combines patriotism, politics and security and fits well with the mythic ethos of the west: If the government cannot protect its citizens, it’s up to the individual.
The company’s informational slide show explains to any potential client it is hiring more than just a rent-a-cop security guard. Instead, it demonstrates what a military-style “cadre” is, complete with a photograph of a camouflaged soldier raising a weapon and taking aim. But Brumley says his outfit doesn’t abide by any traditional rules in which one must be fired upon first to engage.
“Our practice is if someone raises a weapon to me and I feel threatened, with my life or the life of my client, I am taking action,” Brumley said. “I am not going to lose an American because my rules of engagement say ‘Well you know, they have to shoot at you [first].’”
When asked if Gov. Rick Perry believes such a private security force is needed on the border, or if he has concerns that such a company might act outside the scope of the law, a spokeswoman instead criticized the federal government.
“Let’s be clear here: It is the federal government’s responsibility to protect Americans by securing the international border between the U.S. and Mexico,” said Katherine Cesinger, Perry’s deputy press secretary. “Since the federal government is not fulfilling that responsibility, it is unfortunate but not surprising that citizens living along the U.S.-Mexico border feel so unsafe on their own property that they could be looking to hire personal security.” Cesinger added that Perry created Ranger Recon Teams in 2009 to address the increased burglaries of rural homes by identifying high-intensity smuggling routes in remote areas along the border.
Brumley’s agency, which has existed since 1977, boasts access to about 350 guards, whose resumes include service in local, state and federal law enforcement and the armed forces — even snipers and members of the Special Forces. Brumley says the agency has operated in 33 countries worldwide, including several in Latin America. Pressed on whether it has worked in Mexico, Brumley would only say “many of his officers have been in Mexico.”