Almost two years ago, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) wanted to understand ways to better attract, retain and advance female officers. Leadership found that female officers thrived when they had visible female leadership, mentorship and support systems.
These insights inspired the creation of OFO’s Law Enforcement, Leadership, and Legacy (3L) Alliance Program. The 3L Alliance Program creates a space for female officers to meet monthly and openly discuss career development opportunities, successes, challenges and other significant career moments, cultivating a culture of female empowerment.
The 3L Alliance Pilot was first tested in the Buffalo, New York and El Paso, Texas Field Offices through November 2020. Because of its positive impact, it is quickly growing nationally.
CBP Officer Erin Griggs in Buffalo used the 3L Alliance Program to her full advantage. During the very first session Ms. Griggs set a goal to join a specialty team, and throughout the course of the pilot program she received continuous support and encouragement from her 3L Alliance colleagues. Ms. Griggs is now a member of the Anti-Terrorism and Contraband Enforcement Training team and attributes her success to the “entire group of people rooting for her to meet her personal and professional goals.”
One of those supporters was Chief Officer Joanna Recor, who made it her mission to build a sense of community across the 3L Alliance participants, whether they are in a large Field Office or in a remote location. Reflecting on the program and the community they built, Chief Recor stated, “I’m so proud of them for the effort they put in. I felt like I had to fight to get to where I am today, so I’m happy to be able to give this back to other female officers.”
Chief Recor and Officer Griggs both agree that the program helped boost morale in their Field Office, and they both state that having Buffalo Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy’s participation and support has had a profound impact. “It’s a ripple effect of motivation,” Griggs says. “Encouragement and communication between teams have gone up, which puts everyone in a better mood.”
3L Alliance is scaling up nationwide and is currently deploying to the Los Angeles, Preclearance, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle Field Offices. The program will continue to be deployed in a phased approach throughout 2021 and 2022.
CBP and OFO are committed to supporting and promoting women in the workforce with programs like the 3L, allowing females to connect, belong and grow in their careers.