CBP Releases Updated Use of Force Policy Handbook

CBP Training Following a series of external reviews of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) use of force policies, CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske released last week a revised version of CBP’s “Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook.” The updates to the handbook were driven in large part by a February 2013 Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) review of CBP’s use of force policies, which was released in conjunction with the new handbook.  

The PERF review of CBP use of force cases pointed out a few policy and practice areas in need of improvement, but highlighted the following two areas in particular:

  1. “First, officers/agents should be prohibited from shooting at vehicles unless vehicle occupants are attempting to use deadly force–other than the vehicle–against the agent[;]
  2. Second, officers/agents should be prohibited from using deadly force against subjects throwing objects not capable of causing serious physical injury or death to them.”

In response to these recommendations, CBP has incorporated marked changes in the 2014 handbook update. According to the handbook’s press release, these changes include: “requiring additional training in the use of safe tactics and instituting the requirement to carry less-lethal devices, based on operational needs and requirements, such as a less lethal specialty impact/chemical munitions and a controlled tire deflation device specifically engineered to enhance agent and officer public safety.”

CBP also plans to update its basic training curriculum in compliance with the updated use of force policies. Basic training updates will involve “establishing a center of excellence to continuously evaluate use of force policy and procedures, and installing border fence training venues and purchasing use of force training simulators to provide…a more realistic and job specific training experience.”

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/cbp-releases-updated-use-of-force-policy-handbook