The Customs and Border Patrol is an integral entity involved in protecting the United States from terrorist activity, illegal immigration, drug smuggling and human trafficking. The Border Patrol has been around officially for many years, starting with 450 agents in 1924 when the agency was officially established by the U.S. Government. There are many facets of the Border Patrol and many resource types are used by agents such as aircraft, boats, motor vehicles, ATVs, horses and agents on foot. The Border Patrol has many specialized sectors that concentrate on different situations.
The early days of the Border Patrol took place in and around El Paso, Texas at the beginning of the 20th century. The agents were known as mounted guards for their mode of transportation, the horse. There initially were about 75 mounted guards patrolling that area, searching for illegal crossers. There were no uniforms until 1928 and the mounted guards were required to supply their own horse and saddle. They rode for miles in the treacherous heat of the Texas border.
[...] Much of the Border Patrol was sent to focus on the Canadian border as a great deal of liquor and aliens were being smuggled, especially at the Detroit office. With the greater responsibility placed on the Border Patrol, training became an important issue. New Border Patrol agents would need to be educated on the job and the procedures involved. The first Border Patrol Academy was opened in 1934 at Camp Chigas in El Paso, Texas. There were 34 trainees at the first academy. [...]
[...] With the development of the Department of Homeland Security the Border Patrol transformed into Customs and Border Patrol. Agents are trained to watch for signs of possible terrorist activity, investigate and follow up with apprehension or other action. Anyone crossing the border is serious business to Border Patrol agents because of the lingering threat of further terrorist attacks. Customs and Border Patrol has a rigorous academy that all selected applicants must successfully complete. Border Patrol and Federal law enforcement subjects are thoroughly taught at the five month academy in Artesia, New Mexico. [...]
[...] BORSTAR exists for the safety and rescue of Border Patrol agents, citizens and migrants. The requirements for placement in this assignment are completion of a 5 week basic BORSTAR academy as well as the completion of all further training within the time frame of one year. The service time requirement also exists with BORSTAR. The applying agent must have obtained the two to three year experience with the Border Patrol in good standing and must participate in a panel interview. [...]
[...] The Regional Emergency and Crisis Team (REACT) is in charge of special enforcement areas such as high risk warrants, anti narcotics ops, deterring border violence and search and rescue. In order to be a member of this unit, agents must maintain REACT physical training standards, firearms and other areas that they are tested in quarterly. Specialized training is obtained in the areas of helicopter rappelling, chemical agent dispersal, precision shooting and emergency medical technician. The unit was formed in 1984 and currently has 30 members in the San Diego location. [...]
[...] The canine unit is big business for Customs and Border Patrol. The detection of narcotics and other drugs is much more successful with the help of a dog's keen sense of smell. Dogs can be trained to detect and any distinctive smell including individual humans. The Canine training operation was established in 1970 and is based in Washington D.C. The name was changed to the Canine Enforcement Program in 1980. The canine enforcement training center (CETC) supports a staff of over 50 instructors, caretakers and others. [...]
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