By Alan Sorensen
The Havre Sector of the United States Border Patrol is throwing an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. May 28 at sector headquarters, 2605 Fifth Ave.
The day will be marked by the unveiling of the new Border Patrol flag during a flag-raising ceremony at 2 p.m.
The flags unveiling will be held simultaneously at all Border Patrol sectors and stations across the country and Puerto Rico and at the official national celebration at San Diego, Calif.
The new Border Patrol flag is intended to symbolize the Border Patrols respect for its past and its officers dedication to the present and commitment to the future.
The Border Patrols mission remains unchanged since its inception in 1924: To secure the nations borders from illegal entry of aliens and the arrest and prosecution of smugglers of aliens and contraband.
We continue to guard the nations borders against the illegal entry of aliens, narcotics, terrorist and any element which threatens the peace and safety of American citizens, states Border Patrol material.
The Border Patrol presence has been continuous in Havre since the Havre Sector and Station were established on July 1, 1924, as a suboffice of District 26, headquartered in Spokane, Wash.
Originally staffed with 10 patrol officers (inspectors) and two immigration inspectors, the sector operations were moved to Sweetgrass in 1926 and Shelby in 1930. They returned to their permanent home in Havre in 1933.
During those early years, the Sector supported only two ports of entry compared with 13 today. Construction began on the current Sector Headquarters on April 23, 1965, after a 4.6-acre tract of land was donated by the city of Havre.
The facility was completed and first occupied on Jan. 7, 1996.
Today, the Havre Sector has nine stations and suboffices in St. Marys, Sweetgrass, Shelby, Havre, Malta, Scobey, Plentywood and Billings in Montana, and Twin Falls, Idaho.
The Havre Sector has primary enforcement responsibility for the 454-mile border from North Dakota to the Continental Divide. The Sector has enforcement responsibility for a 5-state area that includes Montana,Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, an area of more than 440,000 square miles.
The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, should create a little more work for the Sector. Foreigners from around the world are expected to travel Interstate 15 and other highways south to the games from Canada, Great Falls, Billings, and other points within the Sectors domain.
The Sector has 33 enforcement officers, including the Sector staff and one aircraft pilot. The Sector also has four special agents (criminal investigators).
Among the Sectors agents are two K-9 units (dog and handler). They support Sector operations and assist the entire spectrum of law enforcement agencies in counter-drug efforts.
The Havre Sector works in close liaison with the Helena and Denver officers of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as all state and local law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Secret Service.
Agents also are authorized to wear as part of their official uniform a special 75th anniversary badge commissioned by the Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, Texas, and authorized as part of the uniform during this anniversary year by the commissioner.
Refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.