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Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Customs and Border Protection updates internal framework for weighing risks of vehicular pursuits

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A new directive from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service determined that changes were needed and clarity provided for weighing the risks of vehicular pursuit but refrained from banning the practice.

The decision followed an extensive review of the agency’s past pursuits, which began last year under the CBP Law Enforcement Safety and Compliance Directorate. Experts considered trends, statistics, and outcomes linked to those pursuits and complemented them with reviews of more than 24 vehicle pursuit policies from other enforcement agencies nationwide.

“As a professional law enforcement organization, CBP is continually updating policies to reflect best practices, public safety needs, and evolving public expectations,” CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said. “The safety of officers, agents, and the public are paramount as we carry out our mission.”

CBP acknowledged that all vehicle pursuits inherently pose risks, be it to the public, officers or agents. Instead of doing away with the practice, it opted for a risk-based approach, emphasizing a reasonableness standard for use during attempted detentions and seizures. Accompanying this, the agency also specified the role of supervisors within its framework, laying out reporting requirements to support transparency and accountability measures and promote internal improvement.

Under this revised directive, CBP created a Pursuits branch within its Law Enforcement Safety and Compliance Directorate. It will manage the implementation of the new policy over the coming months – following a transition and training period – along with subsequent pursuits training.