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Our Opinion: Working to save lives

July 09, 2001

Imperial County Sheriff's Office underwater search and rescue divers recently met with divers from Mexicali to talk about training and working together to save lives. That is just one more sign of how local authorities are teaming with authorities from across the border to improve communication and to make the job of protecting people a bit easier.

The meeting between divers came after Mexicali Fire Department divers were involved in searches for missing Mexicali residents. Local authorities were concerned their Mexicali counterparts were unaware of just how dangerous local waterways can be.

Local authorities could have simply warned Mexicali authorities about the dangers and told them to contact officials on this side of the border before diving, but they took it a step further. They took the time to meet and talk about the future. Such meetings make a difference. They create friendships rather than animosity. They create what could be a seamless system of cooperation to save lives, and that benefits us all.

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We have seen a lot of that cooperation lately. There were meetings recently between U.S. immigration officials and Mexican officials in which ways were discussed to save the lives of those who cross the border illegally. As part of the meetings, officials from both sides of the border agreed to train together on desert rescue efforts.

In yet another example, the Calexico Police Department recently signed an agreement with the Mexicali Police Department to improve communications, focusing on the sharing of information. Police said if authorities on both sides of the border are sharing information it means when an individual commits a crime in Calexico, fleeing to Mexicali does not mean they will escape arrest.

That spirit of cooperation is essential for an area like ours. Mexicali may be a city in another country, but it is as step away from Calexico. The Imperial and Mexicali valleys are connected in countless ways. One does not exist as well without the other.

Working together to save lives only makes sense.

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