Border Patrol Admits Internal Affairs System "Broken" as Corruption and Misconduct Cases Pile Up


Border patrol agents with horses

The federal agency Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the largest law enforcement agency in the United States, announced it would change the way it deals with internal corruption and misconduct problems, allowing internal affairs officers to open criminal investigations, according to CBS News, which reports that as of last April there were 476 open internal investigations at CBP.

Between 2005 and 2013 an average of 272 border patrol agents a year were arrested on charges like domestic abuse and drunk driving.  CBP agents have shot at least 10 unarmed people in the last five years, none followed up by disciplinary action, while two are under investigation by the Department of Justice. The CBP commissioner said internal cases against officers were going into a "broken" system.

Will the ability of internal affairs officers to start criminal investigations make a difference? One former internal affairs agent told CBS News that "if you knew the right person, they would take care of you," and an "expert panel" to assist CBP will include the current New York City police commissioner, Bill Bratton.

The CBP blames the growth of drug cartels on leaving agents "vulnerable" to bribes and blackmail.