CBP Issues Integrity and Personal Accountability Strategy13 Oct 2014
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is responsible for guarding this nation’s borders, has issued an integrity and personal accountability document to address the integrity standards of the agency. The CBP has released this document in the wake of well-publicized allegations and concerns of corruption and related internal problems.
Corruption and Incidents Within CBP
The CBP has 60,000 employees, the vast majority of whom are upright and serve with honor. However, in recent years, a number were found to have abused their respective positions. Between October 2004 and September 2013, 163 individuals were charged with corruption. The CBP identifies transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) as the driving force in such corruption. Additionally, the CBP found that, during that same period, approximately 2.5 percent of the agency’s workforce was arrested for incidents that were not work related, such as domestic violence and driving under the influence. The CBP is implementing the strategy laid out in this document, recognizing that criminal behavior by agency employees cannot be tolerated and has the potential to shake the confidence of the American people in this law enforcement agency.
Integrity is Key
This strategy document outlines the CBP’s expectation of the highest standards of employee behavior. Integrity is clearly recognized as the key to public trust, which directly impacts the ability of the CBP to carry out the mission of protecting this nation’s borders. To that end, the report notes that “[t]he American people will accept nothing less than 100 percent compliance with the highest standards of integrity and the obligation to accept responsibility for one’s actions.” The report goes on to demand honesty, impartiality, character, and professionalism from all CBP employees.
Multipronged Strategy to Create “Culture of Integrity”
This document is the first agency-wide, unified integrity strategy. There are four layers to the strategy: prevention, detection, investigation, and response. The goal is to ultimately foster a “culture of integrity,” which is a phrase used again and again throughout the document; the CBP appears to be sending a clear message of zero tolerance among its ranks for corruption and other activities that would violate the trust of the American people.
CBP employees often have a fair amount of authority and responsibility, and how these individuals conduct themselves reflects on the agency as a whole. The tone of the CBP integrity strategy plan reflects a clear understanding for the taint caused by even rare instances of corruption. The Murthy Law Firm appreciates the efforts by the CBP to ensure conduct becoming of an agency with such critically important responsibilities.
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