Border Patrol should add 350 internal investigators, report says

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Customs and Border Protection is urged to add more than double its ranks of internal affairs investigators, according to a report an advisory panel sent to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The panel recommended in a draft report that CBP add 350 criminal investigators to scrutinize its own agents and officers.

Johnson assigned the Integrity Advisory Panel, led by former Drug Enforcement Administration chief Karen Tanday and New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, to look at the agency’s policies and procedures over the last year.

A police Executive Research Forum-commissioned report on the agency’s use-of-force practices that was released last year said some agents were suspected of intentionally placing themselves in front of fleeing cars before firing their weapons.

The group also made several recommendations about how the agency can improve transparency, including reducing delays in releasing information to the public about incidents involving the agency or agents.

The advisory panel report has not been released publicly and was obtained by The Associated Press. The group's recommendations were first reported by The Los Angeles Times and The Arizona Republic.

CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said in a statement that many of the issues highlighted by the panel centered on efforts "already implemented or underway."

"I am committed to continuing the progress made in the last year and to continue our work to earn the trust and respect of the American public and of the communities we work within," Kerlikowske said.

CBP has been plagued with criticism from human rights activists and others who have alleged abuses by agents and officers against border crossers. Last year Johnson gave the agency authority to investigate criminal allegations, including corruption, against its own personnel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report