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The Union has received word that the El Centro Border Patrol station has started shuttling agents to their assigned areas. The shuttles are being used ostensibly to save fuel, but we know the real reason – to prevent agents from working their AUO. Even with full funding from Congress they (agency managers in this sector) are compromising border security by limiting the ability of agents to respond to illegal crossings and other illicit traffic.
By forcing agents to “carpool” to their areas, the agency is limiting their mobility and ability to conduct their law enforcement duties. This compromises officer safety – agents crammed into a carpool vehicle will not be able to respond to assist other agents while they are carpooling to/from the station. This leaves other field agents without backup or other needed assistance.
These carpool vehicles will also compromise officer safety and operations because they will be easily spotted and tracked by criminal organizations conducting “scouting” or other counter-surveillance operations.
As usual, questionable operational changes are being made with one stated purpose (saving fuel) while agents are well aware that the true purpose is to prevent agents from working their AUO, causing agents’ AUO percentages to drop. This hurts agents financially as well as compromises operations by limiting man-hours worked and reducing the number of agents in the field.
Agency managers want to save money at all costs, including at the expense of officer safety and border security.
UPDATE: Shuttle service suspended due to safety violations committed by the agency:
UPDATE 6/18/13: The ELS “shuttle” program has been shut down because of numerous OSHA violations committed by the Agency.