HOULTON, MAINE—Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents celebrated Black History Month by hosting a diversity inclusion event for local elementary students in the Houlton and Hodgdon, Maine area.
"Most individuals are unaware of how diverse CBP is in regard to personnel, careers, assets, cultures and missions," said John Bonner, acting patrol agent in charge, Fort Fairfield Border Patrol Station and Maine Diversity Inclusion Committee president. "This event was a great conduit for our agents and officers to engage students and allow them an opportunity to gain knowledge of our agency and the diversity we actually represent on all fronts."
On February 26, officers and agents from Houlton Air Branch, Field Operations and Houlton Border Patrol Sector spent the day with close to 300 students from Hodgdon and Houlton Southside Elementary Schools, and the Greater Houlton Christian Academy to discuss diversity and the different aspects of CBP.
The event began with CBP officials from each office sharing the importance of diversity and the career path and challenges each of them faced throughout their careers. Curious students then enjoyed canine demonstrations from both the Boston Field Office and Houlton Sector. The young audience was astounded at how each dog was able to accurately sniff out 'target' suitcases and boxes with their well-trained nose time and time again.
Students were captivated further when they were placed into smaller groups and rotated through various stations that included agriculture, fiber optic scope and buster, helicopter, geographic information systems, and use of force. Each station consisted of officers and agents demonstrating the diverse equipment and training used in securing the border, and allowed students to have open dialogue with CBP personnel and hands-on training.
At the conclusion of the day's events, students and teachers alike thanked CBP personnel for the opportunity to experience some of the diverse careers of CBP. All were appreciative of what CBP does in keeping the communities and nation's borders safe from all threats.
During this event, CBP also hosted a pot-luck luncheon for employees in celebration of Black History Month and the diversity within the agency.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.