Carla Provost, Deputy Head of Border Patrol last week, was named the first woman to lead the agency in her 94-year history last week.
Provost, a former police officer in Kansas, joined the agency as an agent in Douglas 23 years ago and rose in the ranks to become a supervisor in Yuma and El Paso. She also served as Deputy Commissioner for Internal Affairs, including compliance with customs and border protection programs and policies related to corruption, misconduct or mismanagement. In 201
"There is no one more apt to lead the border police," said Customs and Border Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan at the announcement.
Provost, who becomes The 18th boss of Border Patrol answered questions from the Los Angeles Times about himself and the agency
Q: Why did you join the border patrol?
A: My senior year of college, I had an internship with the police of Topeka. One of my parents' friends was the head of the homicide department there, so I saw much more than most interns. As a result, when I graduated, I stayed in Kansas and joined the Riley County Police Department.
I loved working with a local police department, but as a 20-year-old, I always thought about what we call "sexy jobs" – FBI, DEA, US Marshals. Luckily, while working in Topeka, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the marshals and really started considering a career outside the local law enforcement agencies.
I was with the marshals in the hiring process and I was still working in the police department, love my job but live paycheck until paycheck. Then the marshals announced a hiring freeze and I was not sure what would come next. But one friend mentioned that Border was hiring Patrol.
I went to the Academy (Border Patrol) in May 1995 and then to Douglas, and after a year on the ground there, I swore that I would never leave the border patrol. I spent 11½ years in Douglas. Not a prime location, but the work is amazing.
Q: Despite Border Patrol's recruitment efforts, women account for only 5 percent of some 20,000 agents, one of the lowest percentages for federal law enforcement agencies. What challenges do you see when it comes to attracting more women to this job?
A: Our biggest challenge is that our environment is different from all other federal agencies.
Most of our jobs are in smaller border towns, not in metropolitan areas. The majority of our agents – at least 16,000 – are located along the border with the Southwest and live in small communities.
While many of our areas have experienced significant growth and investment, such as South Texas, many are still very remote. such as Del Rio, Nogales, Yuma and Calexico.
In my experience, the expectations between female agents and male agents in terms of job and mission do not differ – we are all Border Patrol agents. We are all expected to do the same job, man or woman. And the agents I've worked with over the years, what they're interested in, is if you can do the job – will you be there for them when they need it? If you go out and do a good job then you are recognized.
I do not really want to be recognized, because today I'm the first female chief of the US Border Police. I hope that at the end of my tenure I was recognized for my work as a Border Patrol Agent and finally as Chief of the US Border Patrol
Q: What is Border Patrol the hardest and why?
A: You work long hours, often alone, day and night. You're out in the desert and you can find armed smugglers at any time, without assistance, 20 minutes or more away from any help.
When I first started acting as an agent, I found myself again in a situation where I was with two other agents in a ditch near Douglas. And these smugglers lifted big concrete chunks after us. We finally made it, but if one of those chunks had hit us, we would have been killed.
It takes a special kind of person to do that and get into that position. But if you are up to the challenge, the rewards are huge.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing the agency now on the southern border?
A: Ensuring the safety and success of the men and women on the field at the front line. Every day they risk their lives. Our agents face some of the toughest environments under the most difficult circumstances. I want to make sure they have the best training, equipment, resources and support.
The southwestern border of the United States is operationally a very diverse environment with equally diverse threats to the safety and security of our frontier communities and communities in the United States. Without the means, without more agents and without any changes in our ability to enforce our laws, we will continue to experience a surge in drug smuggling, an increase in gang members trying to infiltrate our communities by illegally entering our nation and we will continue to experience an increase in illegal immigrants to the United States.
Q: The Trump Government's "Zero Tolerance" Policy Immigrant family divisions have made headlines, and the published figures show that a larger proportion of those arriving at the southern border are families. What do you want people to know about how the border patrol has responded this summer and how the agency plans to deal with immigrant families in the future?
A: Today we have the transfer for persecution of parents who travel with their child or their children while we have a lawsuit to enforce the law and maintain the family unit through the prosecution work through the adult.
I want to clarify that at no time the policy of the Border Patrol or (Department of Homeland Security) to separate families. The family separation occurred only as a result of the criminal prosecution of a parent for illegal crossing of the border. In my experience, I know that the frequency of crime decreases when a crime is committed. Without consequences for the breaking of the law, people will continue to break the law.
That's why we emphasize that the consequences are significant. We are a law enforcement agency, we enforce the law, and if we can, we see declines in those who violate this law.
Q: Is the proposed boundary wall a priority for you? What else has priority?
A: We need a wall. Through my experience, we know that walls work. Where we have invested in a wall system – the wall, technology, infrastructure and additional agents – we have seen a significant decline in illegal frontier workers and hampered the illicit drug trafficking.
The President is committed to border security and he has done it We have a high bar for us to secure the border.
What the men and women at the front say is that they need more agents, more walls, more technology and more infrastructure to comply with the President's request to be successful in our mission.
In the previous question you asked about the influx of families crossing the southwestern border. If we really want to get operational control and keep families from making the dangerous journey to get into our country, we have to fill in the gaps in our current law that encourages families and children to do the dangers, in addition to a wall system Travel.
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