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Border Security: Additional Steps Needed to Ensure That Officers Are Fully Trained

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2011
43 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the extent to which the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has revised its training program for newly hired officers in accordance with training standards and has also identified and addressed the training needs of incumbent officers.
The study found that CBP has revised its training program for newly hired CBP officers in accordance with its own training standards. Consistent with these standards, CBP convened a team of subject-matter experts, who identified and ranked the tasks that new CBP officers are expected to perform. The new curriculum is designed to produce a professional law enforcement officer capable of protecting the homeland from terrorist, criminal, biological, and agricultural threats. The study also found that CBP has acted to identify and address the training needs of incumbent officers; however, it could do more to ensure that these officers are fully trained. GAO examined CBP's results of covert test conducted over more than 2 year, and it found significant weaknesses in the CBP inspection process at ports of entry. In response to these test findings, CBP developed a "Back to Basics" course for incumbent officers in March 2010, but it has no plans to evaluate the training's effectiveness. In addition, CBP has not conducted an analysis of all the possible causes of systemic issues that may underlie the test results. Further, CBP does not have reliable training records that would ensure completion of the required training by all officers. The report recommends that the CBP Commissioner evaluate the "Back to Basics" training course, analyze covert test results, establish a policy for training responsibilities, and conduct a training needs assessment. The study examined CBP's records and interviewed appropriate officials. 4 figures, 1 table, and appended supplementary Information