The agents were indicted in 2011, and their trial is set for April.
But most incidents of the Border Patrol misconduct that Tucson lawyer Jim Calle sees have to do with driving under the influence of alcohol. He represents the local union, National Border Patrol Council 2544.
"Border Patrol agents represent a cross-section of the American society, and in general, are susceptible to the same weaknesses as the rest of us," he said.
The majority of Customs and Border Protection employee arrests - and a number that's rising - are for misconduct such as domestic violence and driving under the influence. More than 2,000 arrests have been made from fiscal years 2005 through 2012.
Federal law enforcement agents are held to much higher standards, Calle said.
"It's fair to say that the vast majority of the agents are extremely intolerant of corruption and misconduct," he said.
To reduce risk of corruption and misconduct, the agency already limits the use of cellphones while agents are in the field, rotates officers to different lanes in the ports of entry without notifying them in advance and uses red-flag technology that alerts supervisors when an officer has not followed standard policies.
As hiring stabilizes, so might the problems of corruption and misconduct, said David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego. The institute is a research center focused on U.S.-Mexico issues.
The ability to control quality and monitor agents decreases with a rapid increase in the workforce, said Shirk, and "there's no expectation that there will be a rapid or large increase in CBP personnel."
Contact reporter Perla Trevizo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4213. On Twitter: @Perla_Trevizo.
On StarNet: Find extensive coverage of immigration issues at azstarnet.com/border
Corruption, misconduct incidents
Employees arrested/indicted on corruption charges, such as cooperating with drug smugglers:
Number of arrests for alleged misconduct, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or domestic violence
*Note: as of August 2012 Data for fiscal years 2005-2012
Source: Government Accountability Office analysis of CBP data
U.S. citizens interested in becoming Customs and Border Protection officers or Border Patrol agents must complete:
* online application
* cognitive exam
* be fingerprinted
* financial disclosure
* structured interview
* fitness tests
* medical examinations
* lie-detector test
* background investigation
* drug test
"We grew the Border Patrol very quickly over the last five years. When you bring it up that quickly, you bring people in who may not have been the right people. The bigger the numbers, the more likely you are going to have an element who is corrupt."
Ron Barber, U.S. representative
Originally published by PERLA TREVIZO, ARIZONA DAILY STAR.
(c) 2013 Arizona Daily Star. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
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