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US Border Patrol Use of Force Review

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The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) was commissioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct a review of the Use of Force by CBP officers and agents. This review included all CBP use of deadly force events from January 2010 through October 2012 and CBP use of force policies, equipment, tactics, and training

Sources of information were government-furnished information, equipment and materials and CBP policy documents. PERF reviewed Customs and Border Protection Use of Force Policies and 67 case files related to Customs and Border Protection agents’ use of deadly force.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) uniformed professionals too often face lifethreatening confrontations as they secure America’s borders. A critical issue for CBP is determining how best to keep its agents and officers safe when confronted by dangerous situations. It is equally important that the American people have full confidence that our officers and agents use force in a manner consistent with agency policy and law enforcement best practices. In line with this mission, in October 2012, then Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar directed CBP to undertake a comprehensive review of CBP’s use of force policy and execution

This review process included an internal review by CBP’s Use of Force Policy Division, and an external, independent review by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a non-profit police research organization that provides management services and technical assistance to support law enforcement agencies. Concurrently, while the CBP and PERF reviews were ongoing, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General also conducted a review of the CBP use of force program. The recommendations from these three reviews called for enhancements to use of force training and tactics, additional tools to provide for better analysis of use of force incidents and trends that will better inform policy decisions, a wider array of equipment options be made available to agents and officers, and improvement in particular areas of operational and tactical posture. CBP has agreed with the spirit and concerns underlying the more than 90 recommendations from the three reviews and is taking steps to implement them, all while considering specific operational concerns, border environment, safety issues, union negotiations, and resource constraints. CBP has already begun making changes in each of four overarching initiatives below.

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In essence, CBP uses AUFRS to record all such incidents, to include vehicle pursuits and reportable firearms discharges by CBP LEOs. Collection of this data may allow CBP to better evaluate the effectiveness of policy, training on the use of force, and deployment of less-lethal devices by CBP LEOs. The system also enables CBP to track and analyze use of force in response to assaults against CBP LEOs.

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