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  4. Chris Magnus Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Chris Magnus Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Chris Magnus Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Chris Magnus Commissioner,
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Chris Magnus is the Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He oversees more than 60,000 employees and ensures the effective operations of CBP’s mission to protect national security while promoting economic prosperity. Commissioner Magnus directs CBP’s three core missions of counterterrorism, border security, and trade enforcement while facilitating trade and travel through ports of entry. He oversees the largest law enforcement agency and the second-largest revenue-collecting source in the federal government.

Commissioner Magnus started his public safety career in 1979 as a dispatcher with the City of Lansing, Michigan. He was also a paramedic in the mid-Michigan area for close to a decade and realized during this time he wanted to make the transition to becoming a police officer.  After attending the Lansing Community College Police Academy, he became a deputy sheriff at the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department. In 1985, he became a police officer with the Lansing Police Department where he spent the next 15 years of his law enforcement career.

Commissioner Magnus became the police chief in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1999, and played a key role in implementing the first two-state regional dispatch system in the nation, a forensic children’s interview center, and a refugee liaison program for the area’s many new immigrants and refugees. 

Commissioner Magnus was selected in 2006 as police chief for Richmond, California—a highly diverse, urban community of 115,000 residents in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He served as chief for 10 years and, during that time, he was significantly involved in strengthening ties between the community and its police force, addressing historically high levels of crime, and implementing reforms within the police department. Both violent and property crime decreased significantly during Commissioner Magnus’ tenure and community support for the Richmond Police Department substantially improved.

In 2015, Commissioner Magnus testified before the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing on best practice models of community policing. He also served as an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice, working closely with both the Civil Rights Division and Community Oriented Policing Services Offices on policing issues in various cities around the country.

Commissioner Magnus was appointed to be the police chief for the City of Tucson, Arizona in January of 2016. In this position, he improved police interactions with Tucson’s large immigrant community, implemented a deflection program to take individuals with substance abuse disorders to treatment instead of jail, changed how police respond to people suffering from mental illness, and developed one of the first sentinel event review boards in the policing profession.

Commissioner Magnus has a master’s degree in Labor Relations and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. He also attended the “Senior Executives in State & Local Government” program at the Harvard Kennedy School and the FBI National Executive Institute program.

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Last Modified: January 31, 2022