IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Law enforcement officers wanted:
must work graveyard shifts alone in remote towns along the Mexican
border, put in long hours and perform well in triple-digit
That message is never touted in U.S. Border Patrol recruitment
brochures, but the sobering reality of working on the border has
created an environment in which about 30 percent of agents leave
their jobs in less than 18 months.
The Border Patrol's struggle to keep new hires has become more
evident as the agency comes close to meeting President Bush's
target of 18,000 agents by the end of the year, up from 12,000 two
years ago and double the number from eight years ago. The hiring
surge means 42 percent of agents have less than three years on the
The GAO estimates that taxpayers pay $14,700 for each trainee at
the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico. That 2006 figure
doesn't take into account the many additional hours that senior
agents spend training hires during a two-year probationary period.
Money aside, a revolving door means a large percentage of the
force will always be inexperienced.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)