WASHINGTON – During his first 100 days, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske has established transparency as a top priority. Today, he is releasing a revised use of force policy handbook and a consultant study from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
“We initiated both internal and external use of force reviews to improve ourselves and our responsibility to the public and to use force only when necessary,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “This release and, most importantly, the policy and training changes they represent are the beginning of a continuous review of our responsibility to only use force when it is necessary to protect people.”
The use of force policy handbook incorporates most of the recommendations found in the reviews by third parties – PERF and Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. It incorporates law enforcement best practices and reflects CBP’s commitment to ensure the safety of the public and its law enforcement personnel.
The following changes were made to the handbook such as requiring additional training in the use of safe tactics and instituting the requirement to carry less-lethal devices, based on operational needs and requirements, such as a less lethal specialty impact/chemical munition and a controlled tire deflation device specifically engineered to enhance agent and officer and public safety.
In addition to updating the handbook, CBP is undertaking a comprehensive review and redesign of its basic training curriculum, establishing a center of excellence to continuously evaluate use of force policy and procedures, and installing border fence training venues and purchasing use of force training simulator systems designed to provide officers and agents with a more realistic and job specific training experience.
“Before my confirmation, I told Congress that transparency, responsiveness and communication are my hallmarks. I committed to an open dialogue between CBP and its stakeholders,” said Kerlikowske. “Today’s actions on CBP’s policies address my priorities for the agency and are a significant step in CBP’s continuing progress.”
The handbook and report can be viewed or downloaded at http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/UseofForcePolicyHandbook.pdf and http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/PERFReport.pdf.