Washington, DC - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske announced the launch and full membership of the new Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel during a badging ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building. The ceremony marked the official delegation of criminal investigative authority to personnel from the Office of Internal Affairs, and their designation as Special Agents.

“Today marks another step forward in CBP’s progress to becoming a more transparent and accountable organization,” said Commissioner Kerlikowske. “Integrity is a core value of CBP and the authority to police our own is central to our ability to maintain organizational and personal integrity, which makes today’s badging ceremony such a historic moment for CBP. This, coupled with the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, provides momentum to continue to move our agency forward.”

A total of 225 personnel nationwide assigned to CBP’s Office of Internal Affairs received their designation as Special Agents during the ceremony. The delegation of this authority, by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in September 2014, is a key component of the reforms in integrity, accountability and transparency set in motion by Commissioner Kerlikowske upon his Senate confirmation.

As part of those reforms, Commissioner Kerlikowske is working closely with the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, bringing together proven leaders from throughout the law enforcement community. Secretary Johnson directed the establishment of the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel December 9, 2014, as a subcommittee of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. The CBP Integrity Advisory Panel is co-chaired by William J. Bratton, New York City Police Commissioner, and Karen Tandy, former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator. Panel members include: Robert Bonner, former commissioner of CBP; Walter McNeil, retired chief of police, Quincy, Fla., and past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police; John Magaw, former administrator of the Transportation Security Administration; Col. Rick Fuentes, New Jersey State Police superintendent; and Tucson Police chief and presidential task force member Roberto Villaseñor.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel is a new subcommittee under the Homeland Security Advisory Council tasked with benchmarking CBP’s progress in response to CBP use of force reviews and the DHS OIG report, as well as identifying best practices from federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement on integrity incident prevention and transparency pertaining to incident response and discipline.

The panel will also provide recommendations on how to ensure CBP develops effective capabilities for investigating criminal misconduct within its ranks and recommendations to help CBP more effectively address the significant threat of corruption by evaluating CBP’s progress toward development of intra-departmental agreements and CBP’s continued commitment to and support of the Department of Justice’s Border corruption Task Force. The panel is expected to provide its recommendations to the Homeland Security Advisory Council in June.

In addition to securing criminal investigative authority for the office of internal affairs and chartering the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, Kerlikowske has overseen the implementation of a feasibility study of body worn cameras, initiated the expansion of the Spanish language complaint system, and directed the public release of the Police Executive Research Forum’s report and the CBP Use of Force Policy Handbook. Changes in the training curriculum at CBP’s training academies and enhanced scenario-based training, including border-fence training venues, were initiated in response to the organization’s review of use of force incidents.

In September 2014, CBP released its Integrity and Personal Accountability Strategy, a comprehensive strategy to establish a unified and multi-layered approach focused on prevention, detection, investigation and response.