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Tag: agents

CBP to Begin Outfitting Border Patrol Agents with Body Cameras

Photo: Shutterstock

About a third of Border Patrol agents will wear body cameras by the end of the year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday

The agency already began outfitting agents with body cameras, which are roughly the size of a deck of playing cards.

“Our agents and officers serve the public and protect our borders every day with great skill and professionalism,” Troy Miller, CBP Acting Commissioner, said. “Providing them with state-of-the-art technology and tools like body-worn cameras will support their work and provide greater transparency into interactions between CBP officers and agents and the public.”

About 6,000 of the agency’s 20,000 agents will have body cameras by the end of 2021. Agents along the southwest and northern borders will be the first to receive cameras. 

After this year, the plan is to add body cameras to more agents. 

The idea is to “strengthen CBP’s ability to document and review enforcement encounters and use of force incidents, and to investigate allegations of misconduct on the part of our personnel,” the agency said in a news release.

The announcement comes a month after the Justice department said that federal agents serving arrest warrants or executing raids will soon be required to wear body cameras. The new policy applies to the FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals.

Prospective FBI Agents Are Now Eligible for a Job If They’ve Used Marijuana More Than a Year Ago

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is taking a more tolerant approach to marijuana use among would-be agents. 

Job applicants who have not consumed cannabis for at least one year are now qualified under employment restrictions that were loosened within the past month, Marijuana Moment reports.

Prospective agents were previously disqualified from the joining the bureau if they had used marijuana in the past three years. 

“Candidates cannot have used marijuana or cannabis in any form (natural or synthetic) and in any location (domestic or foreign) within the one (1) year preceding the date of their application for employment,” FBI’s updated job site says. https://www.fbijobs.gov/working-at-FBI/eligibility

Under another change, marijuana use “before the candidate’s 18th birthday is not a disqualifier for FBI employment.” But the latest update adds, “adjudicative personnel will evaluate the candidate by using the ‘whole-person concept.”

While the FBI made no formal announcements of the loosened restrictions, the bureau mentioned drug use among job candidates in a tweeted posted by the bureau’s Chicago Field Office. 

The more tolerant approach to marijuana use comes as many states legalize cannabis for recreational and medicinal use. While marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, Congress is considering decriminalizing it.

Trump Blasted for Putting Secret Service Agents at Risk During ‘Joy Ride’ around Walter Reed

By Steve Neavling

Secret Service agents are trained to take a bullet for the U.S. president. 

But on Sunday, agents faced an entirely different – and unnecessary – risk when they drove President Trump, infected with COVID-19, around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  

The jaunt drew strong criticism from current and former Secret Service agents, as well as doctors. 

“He’s not even pretending to care now,” one agent told The Washington Post.

“Where are the adults?” a former Secret Service member said. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere insisted “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it,” adding that the trip “was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

Although Trump wore a mask during the jaunt around the hospital, doctors said face coverings are not perfect. 

Masks “help, but they are not an impenetrable force field,” tweeted Saad B. Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

Doctors said the Secret Service agents will have to be quarantined for 14 days. 

“They might get sick. They may die. For political theater,” James P. Phillips, a professor at George Washington University who is affiliated with Walter Reed, tweeted. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

Phillips described the risk of viral transmission “as high as it gets outside of medical procedures,” especially since the SUV is “hermetically sealed.”

“The irresponsibility is astounding,” Phillips tweeted. 

Inside a hospital, physicians and nurses wear extensive protective gear such as gowns, gloves, and N95 masks, said Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.

“By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk,” Reiner tweeted.

Dozens of Secret Service Employees Ordered to Self-Quarantine After Trump’s Tulsa Rally

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service ordered dozens of its officers and agents to self-quarantine after attending President Trump’s rally in Tulsa.

The employees were instructed to work from home for 14 days, The Washington Post reports.

Two Secret Service employees were among at least six advance staffers who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Employees who were ordered to self-quarantine also must get tested for COVID-19.

The Secret Service is now requiring agents to be tested 24 to 48 hours before a presidential trip, according to an email obtained by CNN.

“We want to make sure that we have a healthy workforce and that we are protecting our people,” a Secret Service official told CNN. “This is good common sense.”

Trump has been criticized for holding the rally in defiance of federal social-distancing guidelines.

It’s still not clear yet whether the rally led to an outbreak of the virus.

160 CBP Employees Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 160 Customs and Border Protection employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employees, who include customs officers and border agents, are stationed in at least 20 cities in the U.S., according to the agency’s site dedicated to COVID-19.

There are 52 cases in New York City, 17 in Miami, and 10 in each Los Angeles and Newark.

This is the first time CBP released information on its employees impacted by COVID-19.

Other federal agencies are getting hit hard. More than 100 TSA employees in more than two dozen states have become infected.

House Democrats Demand Secret Service Payments to Trump Organization

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are asking the Secret Service to disclose how much money it is spending at President Trump’s company while protecting him at his properties, often while he’s golfing.

The request comes after The Washington Post revealed that the Secret Service was spending as much as $650 per night for rooms for each agent. The costs added up to more than $471,000 for stays between January 2017 and April 2018.

In a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Jackie Speier requested payment records and any contracts between the Trump Organization and the Secret Service.

“The payment of rates far above government rates and the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency raise serious concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars and raise questions about government spending at other Trump properties,” Maloney and Speier wrote in the letter. “These concerns are heightened since President Trump has spent a third of his presidency at his private clubs and hotels, and his Treasury Secretary has attempted to shield Secret Service expenses from public scrutiny.”

The letter notes that Eric Trump, the president’s son and executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, told Yahoo Finance that the government “saves a fortune” when it stays at properties he owns. But records show the payments are higher than usual.

The House Democrats also criticized the Secret Service’s failure to disclose the “full scope of its payments to the president’s businesses or its expenses for presidential travel to his own properties.”

Two Border Patrol Agents Assaulted in Southern Arizona within 24-Hour Period

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Two Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona were assaulted in a pair of unrelated incidents within 24 hours of each other.

Both agents work out of the Tucson sector.

The first attack occurred Thursday evening when a 24-year-old Guatemalan man, who illegally entered the U.S., struck an agent before being taken into custody, Tucson.com reports.

On Friday afternoon, a 22-year-old Phoenix man tried to run down another agent in a vehicle before crashing into the agent’s SUV.

Both men will be prosecuted under federal assault charges.

Neither agent was seriously injured.

35 Border Patrol Agents Died Since 2003. How That Compares to Other Law Enforcement Officers

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol Agent Robert Hotten died in the line of duty on Sunday after authorities say he likely fell on rugged terrain in a remote part of the Arizona border.

His death highlights the dangers facing Border Patrol agents. Since 2003, 35 Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty.

Cato Institute ran an analysis of the deaths to determine how agents are dying and whether their jobs are more dangerous than other law enforcement officers.

About half of the Border Patrol agents died in car accidents. Another 34% died in other kids of accidents, including drownings and from health issues. An additional 17% died from being assaulted or murdered.

Compared to other law enforcement officers, Border Patrol agents compared favorably. About one in 4,680 law enforcement officers died each year between 2003 and 2018. For Border Patrol, it’s one death for every 8,628 agents per year.

“Border Patrol agents volunteered for a job that routinely places them in danger. However, that heightened danger does not translate into a higher chance of dying in the line of duty compared to other police officers,” Cato Institute concluded. “Every unnecessary death is a tragedy, but it’s important to keep them in perspective when forming public policy.”