The National Border Patrol Council condemned the decision by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to overhaul its basic training on the use of force and mandate the use of cameras in vehicles and on agents. The NBPC is concerned about the fact that Border Patrol agents already receive extensive training in the use of force, and the decision would cost millions of dollars at a time when Border Patrol agents are lacking basic resources to secure the border.
“This is a knee-jerk reaction by CBP that will result in agents hesitating to use force to defend themselves, resulting in more injured and murdered agents,” said Shawn Moran, Vice President, National Border Patrol Council. “It’s wrong to place these men and women in even greater danger than they’re already in to placate the demands of a few fringe organizations.”
Instead of introducing new equipment and potentially restrictive policy changes, NBPC called upon CBP to open its books and provide the real story regarding the actual number of use of force incidents involving Border Patrol agents and whether force was justified. NBPC believes CBP should provide transparency around the criminal histories of those who allege use of force by Border Patrol agents, statistics regarding the number of assaults on Border Patrol agents, and the blatant lack of prosecutions against those who assault them.
As it is today, Border Patrol agents receive extensive training in the use of force throughout their careers, stretching from the Border Patrol Academy to quarterly qualifications with firearms, less-than-lethal devices, arrest techniques, and defensive tactics. Agents are trained to use the minimum force necessary to make an arrest or to defend themselves from an assault. The use of force by Border Patrol agents is almost universally predicated upon the decision by a smuggler or criminal to assault a Border Patrol agent.
“At a time when the Border Patrol cannot secure the border due to budgetary restraints, it’s irresponsible to purchase and deploy millions of dollars’ worth of vehicle- and body-mounted cameras to prove that Border Patrol agents are doing their jobs correctly. All resources should be directed towards ensuring that agents are deployed to defend our porous borders,” said Moran.
Use of force incidents and allegations of excessive force are always investigated thoroughly by the Border Patrol and CBP. It is not uncommon to have several components of CBP and other federal agencies, including the FBI, investigating these incidents and allegations. Nearly all are shown to be legitimate uses of force, and in the case of an allegation made by a criminal suspect, deemed to be false.