Border Patrol Training Videos Say to "Hide", "Run Away" in Active Shooter Situations

By Janice Kephart on July 13, 2012

The National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, Ariz., is just a little angry. Local 2544, which is the largest Border Patrol union local with over 3,300 dues-paying members, tags itself as "the real border security experts". What are they angry about? Apparently, the current administration's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) senior officials have created what agents call "virtual brainwashing videos". Their website states that Border Patrol agents have been forced to take a virtual learning course on "active shooters" where the bottom line is that if they encounter an active shooter, as in Fort Hood, the Giffords shooting, or Columbine, they — as law enforcement officers — are to "run away" and "hide".

The site goes on, "If we are cornered by such a shooter we are to (only as a last resort) become 'aggressive' and 'throw things' at him or her." As if the Border Patrol is not law enforcement, they are then advised to "call law enforcement and wait for their arrival …. Multiple quizzes throughout the course and a final test ensure repeatedly that we know that we only have three options … 1. Run away; 2. Hide; and 3. Only put up a fight as a last resort by acting aggressively and throwing things at the shooter. Not one mention anywhere of 'if you are carrying a gun and you have the opportunity take the shooter out'."

The union local's website statement ends like this:

It is always comforting to know that for those of us who carry a weapon when we are off-duty, if we should encounter such a situation, stop a shooter and save countless lives, we can look forward to being disciplined or fired by the Border Patrol because we should have run away to hide and then maybe thrown objects at the killer instead of taking action and stopping him with a firearm. ...

Welcome to the New Patrol.

With these complaints public, DHS is now trying to reverse itself and says it will "revise and clarify this training" shortly. Local 2544 put up a statement saying they "look forward to seeing the new training".

I spoke at length to a long-time, well-respected senior member of the border enforcement community yesterday and he rolled his eyes when I mentioned the video. All immigration law enforcement has been required to watch the video, he said. He described the idea that law enforcement officers are not to do their job in clear and dangerous situations as "simply ridiculous and insulting".

This verification of the Tucson local's commentary from a senior official whom I trust made me wonder about the competency and true intent of DHS officials — who, to date, have been nothing short of brazen in rolling back immigration enforcement across the board. This training is being forced on law enforcement officers without caveats or exceptions to the "active shooter" rule in either the literature or virtual learning videos. What conclusion is any reasonable immigration law enforcement officer supposed to draw other than "hide" or "throw things" in such a situation? If a choice is made to stop a shooting rampage, the outcome could be a serious reprimand, even if lives are saved.

Does the Obama administration not mind a scenario where chaos multiplies because they do not want guns used? Can they not see the possibility of another Fort Hood massacre? This is the same administration that actively supported "Fast and Furious", a gun-walking operation that resulted in hundreds killed in Mexico and at least one border agent in the United States. The hypocrisy is blatant. Nothing new, I know. Yet it remains hard to sit by and watch hard-working immigration law enforcement officers demeaned and repeatedly told not to perform their sworn duties.