Border Patrol officers are being told by supervisors to stay out of certain areas as too dangerous, Cochise County’s top law enforcement officer said Tuesday.

“Agents have told me — this isn’t second-hand — that there are places where they don’t work right along the border because it’s too dangerous,” Larry Dever told Capitol Media Services. More to the point, he said the line officers told him they are simply listening to what they are told by their superiors.

“There is concern at the management level, at a certain level, that it’s too dangerous right there on the fence,” Dever explained. And he said there also is the fear of getting into a confrontation with illegal immigrants and smugglers right along the border which would create an “international incident … with across-the-border shooting.”

Keith Bocharski, a vice president of the union that represents area Border Patrol officers, said supervisors do tell staffers to use caution. And he said there are times that individual agents make decisions not to try to apprehend someone right at the border.

But Bocharski of Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council, rejected any assertion that there is a policy, official or otherwise, of declaring certain areas unsafe.

“That’s the type of work that we do,” he continued.

“It’s inherently dangerous,” Bocharski continued. “(But) I haven’t known one person to avoid that.”

That was underscored by Lloyd Easterling, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“To be 100% clear, no such order has been given,” he said in a written response to questions by Capitol media Services. “And any assertions to the contrary are false.”

Easterling acknowledged that officers may be advised to make tactical decisions about their activities in given areas.

“Situations may exist where an immediate capture in close proximity to the border is not always prudent due to terrain limitations and response time constraints,” he said.

Source: East Valley Tribune

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