EL PASO COUNTY — Homeowners in Eastern El Paso County are voicing concerns after hearing that the Rural Enforcement and Outreach Unit could be disbanded. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says some of the unit's deputies are being temporarily reassigned to help with a mounting number of investigations, but the unit is not going away it will remain staffed and dedicated to its mission.
"We've seen a big drop in animal cruelty. We've seen a big drop in the number of illegal grows. A lot of the community members our here just feel safer knowing we have deputies that are out here patrolling this area," said El Paso County Resident Carrie Terroux-Barrett.
Terroux-Barret has lived in Eastern El Paso County for 11 years. She says the sheriff's rural enforcement and outreach unit has improved the lives of homeowners and animals on the plains.
"Five years ago there were 10 pot grows within a couple miles of here and now you drive by and they are just abandoned buildings. These sheriffs have done a very proactive job," said Terroux-Barrett.
But Terroux-Barrett contacted News5 when she heard from a member of the unit there was a chance it would be disbanded.
"I really want the sheriff's office to know that this is a big resource to us out here," Terroux-Barrett said.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office confirmed some of the unit's resources are being re-assigned, but the team will remain staffed.
"The rural enforcement and outreach has not been disbanded. What we did is we temporarily reassigned four of them. They are a six man unit to patrol and that was more of to backfill for investigations because the case load has gone up just a little bit there. But we still have three people assigned to the unit. One sergeant and two deputies they will still be handling the call for services," said El Paso County Sheriff's Office Leiutenant Paul Mynatt who oversees the REO Unit and Patrol Division.
The goal for sheriff's office leaders is that eastern El Paso County residents will not notice a difference in service. That includes at schools where there will be a continued law enforcement presence.
Click here for more information on the El Paso County Sheriff's Rural Enforcement and Outreach Unit.