Governor Chris Sununu Announces Northern Border Alliance Task Force
Concord, NH – Governor Christopher T. Sununu, Attorney General John M. Formella, and New Hampshire Department of Safety Commissioner Robert L. Quinn announce today the establishment of the Northern Border Alliance Task Force composed of state, county, and local law enforcement officers. The Task Force will conduct patrols along the northern border to: reduce the instance of crimes and illicit activity; respond to all threats, all crimes, all hazards; and collect, share, and act upon criminal intelligence. The Task Force will also cooperate, as needed, with federal law enforcement officers in the enforcement of federal criminal immigration laws.
The Northern Border Alliance Task Force will be funded by the Department of Safety, in accordance with RSA 21-P:69 & 70, which has $1,435,384 grant funds available to the New Hampshire State Police, Forest Rangers, and Fish and Game Department, as well as to county and local law enforcement agencies to fund patrols within 25 air miles from the Canadian border.
“The Federal Government refuses to take action on our Northern Border,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “They cut funding, limited our resources, and have thrown their hands up. Without adequate federal support, the state is stepping up. Encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list at the Land Border Ports of Entry along the northern border have doubled since 2017. This is a stark contrast to what we are seeing on the southern border, where Land Border Port of Entry encounters have decreased during that same time period. In fact, just this year, 85% of all land border encounters with individuals on the terrorist watchlist 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.”
“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. Given the rural nature, expansive geography, and sparse population of northern Coos County, local law enforcement resources are extremely limited,” said Attorney General Formella. “The increase in personnel provided by the Northern Border Alliance Program and Task Force will add ten thousand patrol hours near the border 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.”
All law enforcement officers conducting activities, patrols and investigations for the Northern Border Alliance Task Force shall serve under the general supervision and control of the Attorney General’s Office pursuant to a memo issued today by the Attorney General.
Participating law enforcement officers will be vested with the authority and jurisdiction, within twenty-five air miles from the Canadian border, to: (1) enforce all state criminal laws, and (2) cooperate with federal law enforcement officers in preventing and detecting crime and apprehending criminals, including those who have committed federal immigration-related crimes. RSA 21-M:3-b; RSA 106-B:11; 8 U.S.C. § 1357 (g) (10). In addition, because the participating officers will be working as part of an Attorney General task force, local and county officers who participate in the task force will be entitled to the same legal advice and protections afforded to State officials.
In order to become a member of the Northern Border Alliance Task Force and participate in a Northern Border Alliance patrol, law enforcement officers must be employed by a state, local, or county law enforcement agency and participate in training jointly conducted by the Attorney General’s Office and the New Hampshire Division of State Police. Eligible law enforcement officers must receive approval from the chief law enforcement officer of the agency in which he or she works, receive a written designation from the Attorney General’s Office, execute a written agreement in a form to be established by the Attorney General’s Office, and comply with all applicable policies established by either the New Hampshire Division of State Police or the Attorney General’s Office.
The first phase of the Northern Border Alliance Task Force will begin immediately with participation from State Police. The second phase will begin when the rules for the Northern Border Alliance Program become effective, which is expected to occur at the November 16, 2023 meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. Once these rules are approved, local and county law enforcement agencies will be permitted to apply for funding from the Northern Border Alliance Program and execute grant agreements with the State. When those grant agreements are approved, local and county law enforcement officers will begin their participation with the Northern Border Alliance Task Force.