October 30 - November 5
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
This week I'd like to write a little about employee retention. Let me start with some points of reference.
So, employee retention is a problem for the Patrol and it's going to become far worse! This problem is exasperated due to the long-term dissatisfaction of the workforce as reflected in FEVS scores, significant spikes in hiring in the mid-2000s and a lack of meaningful initiatives to retain employees.
Recently, I was told of a virtual town hall that had occurred where the Patrol's senior leaders were asked about poor employee retention rates. HQ's response was that retention bonus funding had been requested but not approved. All of the studies that I have read stated that when an employee perceives that they are being paid fairly, that giving bonuses or raises as a method of addressing morale problems will merely prolong the inevitable. The bonuses will NOT fix morale, they will remain dissatisfied and will leave. The same holds true for employee retention bonuses, see below:
The USBP is solid at responding to an employee crisis with the Chaplains, Peer Support and Honor Guard. The Patrol is stepping up its resiliency initiatives to provide the workforce with better techniques for coping with personal challenges and stress. When employees have an emergency, we leap into action for their benefit and graciously accept assistance from our friends at the Border Patrol Foundation.
Where great opportunities for improvement for the USBP exists, is in valuing the workforce on a day by day basis (not just during a crisis). Doing better for the workforce on a daily basis is what will have impacts on attrition/retention, FEVS and mission sustainment/accomplishment. Things like communication (listen and share information better), employee friendly policies, appropriate recognition (my personal favorite), fair discipline, etc...
In summary, the Patrol is putting forth great effort in recruiting new employees, and at responding to employees in crisis. Awesome and worthy work. However, the Patrol is lacking in retention initiatives. To address retention issues, I strongly recommend against ineffective and expensive retention bonuses. I believe the keys to improving retention numbers lay within improvements:
What another great week in USBP history! This week starts with the Father of the Border Patrol's final proposal to create the USBP in 1918 (and it was approved but not acted upon). We have uncertainty of the authority of Patrol Inspectors in 1924 and the earliest reference of which I am aware to a Border Patrol Intelligence unit in 1925. We also have the finalizations of the spec sheets of USBP Flag and Pennant by the U.S. Army institute of Heraldry in 1998.
We remember two Border Patrol heroes on the anniversaries of the actions leading them to being recognized with Newton-Azrak Awards.
We also remember three of our fallen on the anniversaries of there deaths.
Enjoy the blog and have a great week!
Esprit de Corps
The workplace climate resulting from a combination of organizational pride and employee morale.
Esprit de corps is reinforced through the shared goals, mission and values of the organization and its employees.
The definition turns Esprit de Corps into a simple formula and defines parts that comprise organizational pride and employee morale.
Esprit de Corps = Organizational Pride + Employee Morale
Esprit de Corps is the key to a healthy organization and engaged employees.
Honor First is foundational to the Border Patrol's organizational pride and integral to its Esprit de Corps.
Newton-Azrak Award Action Anniversaries
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
Jesus E. De La Vega
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
El Centro Sector
On November 2, 1999 at about 11:20 PM, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jesus E. De La Vega was patrolling the border area along Interstate Highway 8 near Seeley, California. As he turned off the highway, he saw a huge white cloud of smoke covering the ramp. Through the smoke, he was able to make out a vehicle that had just crashed, rolled over twice, and come to rest on its side. Flames shot out from the front passenger compartment and from under the hood.
Looking for occupants, SBPA De La Vega spied a single male victim, later identified as a Bruce Allen Stanley, who was severely disoriented and desperately attempting to exit the vehicle. Stanley could make no headway, unable as he was to move his right arm, which had been injured when the vehicle rolled over. Agent De La Vega asked Mr. Stanley whether any other occupants were in the vehicle. The victim stated that he was the only one. As the flames became more intense, Agent De La Vega, oblivious to his own safety, attempted to open the door of the vehicle, but was initially beaten back by the smoke and heat. After a few more attempts, Agent De La Vega was finally able to pull open the door, release the man’s seat belt, and drag him to safety away from the vehicle, which by then was entirely engulfed in flames. Agent De La Vega proceeded to administer emergency first aid to Mr. Stanley and make him as comfortable as possible.
Next, he radioed for emergency services, and within minutes, units from the California Highway Patrol, Imperial County Fire Department, and Gold Cross Ambulance had responded. They treated Mr. Stanley for the injuries to his shoulder and arm and for smoke inhalation. For his part, Agent De La Vega escaped injury. His selfless and heroic actions saved a life and are a true inspiration.
On November 1, 2007, in Wellton, AZ, Agent Miranda observed a house almost completely engulfed in flames. Without regard for his personal safety, he entered the structure through the front door and assisted a woman in a wheelchair to safety. He immediately reentered the house, located a double amputee elderly man, and led him to safety. At that point, Agent Miranda was informed that a mother and two children were still in the house. A third time, he entered through the front door only to find that the ceiling was fully engulfed and that fiery debris was falling on him. As he retreated outside, he was told that the room in which the mother and children were believed to be was on the rear, right side of the house. With the help of a neighbor, Agent Miranda dislodged an air-conditioning unit from the wall, creating an entry point into the room. For a fourth time, Agent Miranda entered the house to save people. He found the room to be full of black smoke, with such intense heat that breathing was nearly impossible. Again, he was forced to retreat. Once outside, Agent Miranda instructed the neighbor to use a nearby garden hose and to douse his uniform with water. For a fifth time, Agent Miranda entered the house. He found the room to be engulfed in flame, full of choking smoke and raining debris from the ceiling that was on fire. Over the next week, Agent Miranda would lose his eyelashes, eyebrows and much of his hair. The heat that he experienced inside the house was so intense that it cause the hair to become brittle and to break off. For his conspicuous heroism and extraordinary courage, he was awarded the Commissioner’s Meritorious Service Award for Valor and the Secretary’s Valor Award. Agent Miranda’s actions brought great credit upon himself and the United States Border Patrol.
As of May 16, 2022, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 152* fallen.
The facts regarding each officer are presented without major editing of the "language of the day" found in the reports detailing the circumstances of each event. This is done to provide the reader an association with historical timeframes.
Employees who died in the line of duty due to being exposed to deadly illnesses will not have the cause of death listed.
*With the exception of two of the fallen immediately below, all names are listed (or in the process of being included) on the official Honor Roll of U.S. Border Patrol Fallen and inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The U.S. Border Patrol should fix these discrepancies. HonorFirst.com honors both of the fallen.
David N. Webb
Date of Birth: November 24, 1970
Entered on Duty: February 23, 2004
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 3, 2006
On November 3, 2006, Border Patrol Agent David N. Webb was enroute to his normal patrol duties on the Tohono O’odham Nation within the Ajo Station Area of Responsibility. At approximately 5:18 p.m., Agent Webb was involved in a single vehicle accident. Border Patrol Agents working nearby responded to assist Police and emergency medical services personnel at the scene of the accident. Agent Webb did not survive the injuries sustained from the accident.
Agent Webb was 36 years old and was a graduate of the 580th session of the Border Patrol Academy. He served his country as a member of the 186th Infantry in the Oregon Army National Guard, where he saw service in the Sinai Desert as a member of a United Nations Peace Keeping Force from May 2002 to February 2003.
Burial Details Unknown
David R. Delaney
Date of Birth September 5, 1968
Entered on Duty: December 12, 2002
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 2, 2012
On November 2, 2012, Border Patrol Agent David R. Delaney collapsed and died while patrolling on foot near Big Bend National Park in Texas.
Agent Delaney entered on duty as a member of the 536th academy session on December 12, 2002. Following his graduation, he was assigned to the Calexico Station in the El Centro Sector. He then transferred to Houlton and Grand Forks Sectors before settling in at the Big Bend National Park Sub-Station of Alpine Station in the Big Bend Sector in 2011.
Agent Delaney is survived by his wife and three children.
Anibal A. Perez
Entered on Duty: June 26, 2006
Title: Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 5, 2021
Agent Perez entered on duty on June 26, 2006, as part of the 625th Session of the Border Patrol Academy. At the time of his passing, he was assigned to the Ajo Station in the Tucson Sector, Arizona. The circumstances of his passing were reviewed by an executive panel and the CBP Commissioner who determined that this death occurred in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife Fawna; children: Isabella, Andre, and Milan; parents: Anibal and Dora; and sister: Tara.
Blog author, retired U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief and, current U.S. Border Patrol employee advocate.
Site founder and owner, former Supervisory Border Patrol Agent and retired Immigration Special Agent.
U.S. Border Patrol historian and retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent.
I prefer that you leave comments. However, if you wish to contact me, please do so by emailing Cliff@HonorFirst.com.