As Commissioner of CBP, I know that our employees must be beyond reproach – not above the law. Our travel and trade stakeholders – passengers and pedestrians who arrive at our land, air, and sea ports of entry, and the businesses who rely on us to screen incoming cargo – deserve no less.
Integrity is one of CBP’s three core values, along with vigilance and service to country. And of those three values, integrity is the most important. Without integrity, our vigilance has no value and our service has been subverted.
Since I took office in 2014, I’ve made integrity the cornerstone of our policy initiatives and organizational changes. During the past two years, CBP has made remarkable progress in this area. For example, the Department of Homeland Security has authorized CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility to conduct criminal investigations, and the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget supports our hiring of 100 more investigators. An additional 30 investigators from our sister agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are being detailed to CBP.
At my direction, CBP invited outside stakeholders to review the ways we handle employee misconduct. We have initiated a Complaints and Discipline Steering Committee and Working Group to carry out self-driven initiatives as well as recommendations by these external stakeholders, which include the Homeland Security Advisory Committee’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel. We have consolidated our systems for receiving public comments and we are using that information to further improve our responsiveness. CBP also has expanded staffing at our call center for receiving inquiries, and we have incorporated Spanish-language capabilities.
CBP has also reformed training, guidance, and policies on how, when, where, and why officers and agents use force. We created specially trained teams to investigate use of force incidents, enhanced our systems for tracking allegations, provided new equipment, and began publishing monthly use of force statistics on our website. We also adopted a use of force formal review process and we have begun to publish resulting case reviews and conclusions on our website. Finally, we were the first Federal agency to voluntarily initiate a body worn camera feasibility study and we continue to improve camera capabilities at CBP. We are meeting with several camera vendors as part of this commitment.
As the largest law enforcement agency in the nation, CBP is focused on recruiting, training, and retaining exceptional personnel to meet the demands of our increasingly complex mission. I am proud to lead an agency committed to earning the trust and respect of the communities we serve. I appreciate our officers and agents who risk their own personal safety every day to make sure our borders and our ports of entry are secure.