Del Valle residents are on edge after learning about the Bastrop County sheriff’s office’s plans to increase traffic patrols over Labor Day weekend.
On Thursday afternoon, after learning about the operation from an unnamed source within the sheriff’s office, the Austin-based community activist group Grassroots Leadership made a Facebook post saying that Bastrop Sheriff Maurice Cook “was planning to conduct another traffic checkpoint in the Del Valle area over the holiday weekend” — similar to one conducted on June 23 in the Stony Point neighborhood that resulted in 16 people sent to immigration authorities for deportation proceedings.
Two hours later after Grassroots Leadership’s post, the sheriff’s office issued a statement on Facebook announcing that the department will be increasing its “traffic patrol presence in order to identify unsafe drivers and vehicles being operated in an unlawful manner” over the holiday weekend.
The post does not say whether the traffic patrols will be focusing on any particular area of the county as had happened during the June 23 operation, when deputies focused on the heavily-Latino Stony Point neighborhood, according to a sheriff’s memo. Cook has denied accusations that the operation targeted immigrants and described it as a routine law enforcement tactic.