What Are The Characteristics Of An Effective Border Patrol Agent?

Border patrol agents work for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency operating under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If you want to play a role in keeping the United States safe from terrorists and the entry of deadly weapons, this career is certainly one that you will find very fulfilling. However, the work of border patrol agents isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to possess unique physical and psychological characteristics to be effective in this post.

Let’s first tackle the physical requirements that are needed for you to become an asset to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Since a border patrol agent is a law enforcement position, you need to be physically fit and healthy. You can expect to work in different weather conditions—some inclement— so having strength and stamina is a must. Moreover, you must be physically alert and ready for dangerous situations that include chasing illegal immigrants across rough terrain and armed encounters with terrorists. Since you can expect some of your shifts to take place at night or in wide areas where various sounds can be heard, having visual and auditory acuities are going to be needed. Patrolling large areas, sometimes on foot when these can’t be reached by any vehicle, is going to be part and parcel of your work as a border patrol agent. All these tasks require you to be in the best physical shape of your life.

If physical strength is a must, you’ll need even more of it psychologically. You must be able to hack the unique emotional requirements of working alone in posts that are far from civilization for long periods of time. Those with families should be able to deal with the loneliness of not seeing their spouse or kids every day when they are assigned far from home. This kind of work arrangement requires psychological toughness that not even the bravest individuals possess. You should be ready for these if you want to be an effective border patrol agent.

You should also be courageous. You will be dealing with different kinds of bad elements—from illegal immigrants to drug dealers to terrorists— who could potentially inflict harm on you. You should not be afraid to apprehend them so that you can carry out your mandate of protecting the American public. As a border patrol agent, it is expected that you have already accepted the dangers that come with the position and are still ready and willing to respond and do what is right.

As a border patrol agent, you should possess sound judgment and quick thinking. You will be placed in critical situations where you will need to decide if you should use your firearm or not or to pursue a lead or not. It is during these critical situations when you need to use your ability to think quickly and make the right call.

Finally, effective border patrol agents have the ability to extract the information they need to solve cases that they are handling from different sources. They know how to network with other law enforcement agencies so they can share information and other data that would help them apprehend those illegal aliens and terrorists.

Career Spotlight: Border Patrol Agent

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