FORT MEADE, Md. -- For years, Army Reserve military police Soldiers have deployed to perform demanding jobs overseas. Now law enforcement careers are opening up right inside the borders.
"They're exactly what we're looking for," said Assistant Chief Jose V. Rodriguez, deputy commander for Customs & Border Protection's (CBP) National Frontline Recruitment Command.
"We've all sat down, put our heads together, and said that the military police would be one of the best type of person that we need because they have the training, they have the skills, and they're ready to put on another uniform and continue to serve," he said.
Rodriguez conveyed the CBP's recruitment plans during a meeting with command leadership from the 200th Military Police Command and a liaison officer from the Army Reserve's Private Public Partnership Office (P3O), April 15.
During their meeting, the CBP and Army Reserve leaders discussed ways MPs can find law enforcement careers outside of the military.
"Whether you're an MP, you're a logistician, you're a truck driver, (Army Reserve Soldiers) bring leadership skills, adaptability, ability to train, to follow orders, to lead … (They're) great assets that not only the CBP but other entities will need and use as well," said Lt. Col. Carlos D. Mercado, liaison for the P3O at the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve.
Currently, three of the major CBP positions for hire are border patrol agents, customs officers and air and marine officers. To qualify, border patrol agents must complete a 5-month course that requires them to learn Spanish. The customs officer course is 19 weeks long, with Spanish required only in certain geographic positions. The air and marine officer positions include operators who drive fast boats, fly in helicopters or pilot unmanned aerial vehicles. In all, the CBP is looking to hire approximately 4,000 officers.
"We have a huge footprint. The goal is to have 46,000 badge carriers (total)," said Kevin Cannon, a liaison for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who specializes in Department of Defense partnerships and hiring.
The 200th MP Cmd. has roughly 13,000 Soldiers spread across the United States. Approximately 97 percent of all Army Reserve military police assets serve within the 200th. Many of them are younger than 21 years old. The CBP would work well for them because it's one of the few law enforcement agencies hiring and recruiting men and women at the age of 18.
"That's fantastic," said Maj. Gen. Phillip Churn, commanding general of the 200th MP Cmd, when he heard that detail. "So many of our young Soldiers want to become law enforcement officers (outside of the military)."
If any Soldier is interested in applying for a CBP officer position, they are invited to visit the USA Jobs or U.S. Customs and Border Protection Careers websites.