CBP, TSA Exempted From New Profiling Guidelines

The announcement last week by the Justice Department of new guidelines regarding racial profiling by federal law enforcement officers signaled a clear intention by the Obama administration to respond to recent controversies involving police officers and minority suspects. In announcing the new guidelines, Attorney General Eric Holder outlined the changes and revisions that would be made: for the first time, racial profiling would be banned from national security cases. Another significant change is the expansion of types of profiling that will be banned: while President George W. Bush stopped racial profiling in 2003, the new policy will cover religion, national origin, and sexual orientation profiling as well.

However, the new guidelines will not apply to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), nor to important parts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While some top officials had encouraged the guidelines to apply to all federal law enforcement officers, in the end the TSA and CBP were made exempt from the policy due to the nature of their duties. The CBP and the TSA and both under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and their responsibilities, which include screen airline passengers and guarding the United States’ land border with Mexico, were ultimately judged by the Justice Department to necessarily include a degree of profiling. Under the exemption, CBP officers will still be able to use profiling when doing inspections at the United States’ many “ports of entry,” as well as in contact with travelers at the border.

One other exemption of note is the allowance for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to continue its policy of “mapping.” This allows agents from the Bureau to use demographic data about specific ethnic groups in order to designate neighborhoods for investigations and informant recruiting activity.

For federal law enforcement officers, the impact of the new policy regarding profiling will be felt almost immediately. As the majority of federal law enforcement officers will fall under the purview of the new guidelines, it is crucial that they read the guidelines thoroughly and carefully, as the issue involved is receiving great scrutiny, and failure to follow the new policy will have the potential for serious disciplinary action. Even for those employees of TSA and CBP who are exempt from the guidelines, researching and studying the new practices should be done. While some organizations are exempt now, it remains a possibility that the guidelines could be revised in the future to include ALL federal law enforcement officials.

Failure to follow the new policies regarding profiling may result in disciplinary actions or allegations of misconduct, as well as the risk of civil litigation from a member of the public. For federal law enforcement officers, the best defense against such adverse actions is a professional liability insurance (PLI) policy from Federal Employee Defense Services (FEDS). The FEDS program gives you access to legal representation from top-ranked federal employment attorneys, as well as providing monetary coverage in the event of a civil lawsuit. For only $290 a year (and only $145 after the mandated agency reimbursement), having a PLI policy is a no-brainer. To enroll or learn more about the program today, visit www.fedsprotection.com or call 866.955.FEDS. 

 In a time when it seems that federal law enforcement is under attack and criticism from so many corners, having your own liability and defense protection is invaluable. The FEDS policy starts at only $290, and all federal law enforcement officers are entitled to a reimbursement of up to $150 from their agencies. At that low cost, protecting yourself with PLI is an easy choice. Call 866.955.FEDS or visit http://www.fedsprotection.com today.

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