Why is the Border Patrol showing up at county fairs, country music festivals and rodeos lately? For recruiting purposes of course. They have a lot of jobs to fill – numbering in the thousands – and this is considered prime territory for locating folks interested in this rather unique career path who might be available. But seriously… the rodeo? They’re claiming that it works for them. (Associated Press)
The presence of border agents and customs officers at the country festival is part of an aggressive recruitment effort to seek out prospective employees. Customs and Border Protection has been showing up at bull-riding competitions, Big 10 and Big 12 sports tournaments, job fairs and country music fests like the one last month in Florence, southeast of Phoenix.
“We do recruiting at pretty much anywhere we have an opportunity to show up. It could be something as small as a community event at a local park,” said Border Patrol spokesman Vicente Paco, who handed out brochures to festivalgoers.
If you think about it for a moment it actually makes sense. These aren’t generic tech sector or retail jobs which might attract people from all ideological stripes. It’s grueling and potentially dangerous work, but it also carries with it a definite political overtone. The Border Patrol, along with ICE and probably the Department of Homeland Security in general, are seen as “the enemy” by too many liberals who support open borders, sanctuary cities and all the rest. A recruiting drive on the campus at Berkeley probably isn’t going to turn up many interested parties. But if you go to a NASCAR event, a Travis Tritt concert or, yes, a rodeo, you’re far more likely to run into somebody who cares enough about border security to consider such a career.
But why are they having such a hard time filling these jobs in the first place? The economy is considerably better than it was a few years ago and the unemployment rate has supposedly returned to “nominal” levels, but there are still plenty of people either out of work or looking for a better compensated position. You’d think people would be beating down their doors with all of these openings.
In many cases the applicants actually are showing up, but they’re not making it through the qualification process. And one big reason is that the Border Patrol is still using polygraph tests as part of the application process and as many as two thirds of the people signing up are failing them. (LA Times)
Two out of three applicants to CBP fail its polygraph test, according to the agency. That’s more than double the average rate of eight law enforcement agencies that provided data to the Associated Press under open-records requests.
It’s a big reason approximately 2,000 jobs at the nation’s largest law enforcement agency are empty, with the Border Patrol, a part of CBP, recently slipping below 20,000 agents for the first time since 2009. And it has raised questions of whether the lie detector tests are being properly administered.
We absolutely want only qualified people entering law enforcement because of the risk of corruption among agents, but is it time we consider doing away with these polygraph tests as part of the screening process? The American Psychological Association has found that so called lie detector tests are more myth than reality and are notoriously unreliable. Some people who just become overly nervous when answering questions fail them even when telling the truth. And some skilled liars can teach themselves to pass the tests with a bit of training. Surely there are other ways to screen out the undesirable applicants and get a few more qualified people in uniform and on the job.
But in the meantime, if you happen to be in the market for an exciting job that will keep you outdoors quite a bit, get yourself out to the rodeo. You’ll probably get an offer to apply.