While U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has tripled the number of applications it has received for law enforcement positions in recent years, it has had problems retaining employees.
To address this issue, CBP asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to examine CBP’s efforts to recruit, hire and retain law enforcement personnel. GAO analyzed CBP’s recruitment, hiring, and retention data from fiscal year (FY) 2013 through the first two quarters of FY 2018. GAO also reviewed CBP strategies and the efforts of a contractor it awarded to augment its recruiting and hiring activities.
The GAO recommends that CBP collect and analyze data on departing law enforcement officers. This information could be used to inform retention efforts.
CBP has increased its recruitment efforts by establishing a central recruitment office and taking part in more recruitment events. Also, in November 2017 CBP hired a contractor to target potential applicants and use data to enhance CBP’s recruitment efforts.
Consequently, CBP has increased its number of hires. For example, 83 percent more Border Patrol agents were hired in the first half of fiscal year 2018 compared to the same period for FY 2017.
However, staffing levels for law enforcement positions are still below target levels. For example, CBP was some 1,100 CBP officers below its target staffing level. CBP officials said the job locations presented a key retention challenge as there has been a high degree of attrition. The protracted hiring time has also been an issue, as has competition from other law enforcement agencies.