Help has arrived for the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) after the high number of smuggling cases led to and increase in inmates at the jail. Seven Arizona National Guard members are in the county, with two more scheduled to come to the county next week.

Weve been asking the Federal Government for help for a while and the state stepped up and helped us, said Cochise County Jail Commander Kenneth Bradshaw.

Governor Katie Hobbs sent members of the guard to southern Arizona to help with the increased activity at the border. CCSO asked the governor for more personnel to help with the increase toward the end of last year.

It helps us so much to have that additional back up, Bradshaw said.

He told KGUN that in 2023, 45% of the jail’s population were people who committed border related crimeslike smuggling.

As long as were having these border issues, well need the help, Bradshaw said.

On Tuesday, he estimated 120 of the jail’s 270 inmates are incarcerated for border-related crimes. Bradshaw says the average length of stay has increased from 24 hours to six days, because the people who commit border related crimes tend to stay longer.

The National Guard personnel are helping with administrative work, like logging and answering phones. They are also monitoring cameras and opening doors. Bradshaw says they can’t interact with the inmates but by taking over some of the administrative work it frees up the officers for inmate-related work.

Its a very hectic environment anyway,” he said. “The more staff we have, the safer it is for both the inmates and the staff because they can interact with the inmates often and theyre not doing administrative work.

Bradshaw doesn’t know when the nine National Guard members will leave but he’s thankful for the help, no matter how long they stay.