Border agents under attack

“Street Shrine” by Kinsee Morlan

Reports about the increased use of pepper spray and tear gas by U.S. Border Patrol agents and the unintended results (read: agents are allegedly affecting Tijuana residents who live near the border) are rapidly piling up, but none I’ve seen so far have answered the obvious question: What kind of training do U.S. Border Patrol agents undergo? Are they trained to use these nonlethal weapons?

Wendy Lee, the local press officer for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, says agents are trained to use the spray and their collapsible steel batons, but she wasn’t sure about the tear gas. She said agents undergo four months of training at an academy in New Mexico, describing it as “a lot like the police academy.”

Four months certainly doesn’t seem like much time to me. If these problems persist, the Border Patrol might want to consider tacking on some more training time.

About Kinsee Morlan

Arts and web editor at San Diego CityBeat. Interested in art and the Tijuana/San Diego border.
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