Homeland Security?

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both" - Benjamin Franklin

Sobering DUI Statistics:

In 2003, the Local 2544 chapter of the National Border Patrol Union posted a document to their website regarding proposed disciplinary actions by the Border Patrol against agents arrested for DUI. In the document, local union boss, Edward (Bud) Tuffly protests bitterly against the proposed 30 day suspension complaining that no other Border Patrol sector takes such harsh disciplinary measures against agents arrested for DUI. Mr. Tuffly goes on to state there has been concern over the increasing number of Border Patrol agent arrests for driving under the influence but within the first six months of 2003 ONLY 1% of Tucson sector Border Patrol union members had been arrested.

The 1% statistic stood out to me like a sore thumb so I did a little additional digging to try and put the number in perspective. In 2003, there were over 2000 Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector. This means that approximately 20 agents were arrested between January and June of 2003 for DUI. The Tucson Sector covers a large chunk of Arizona with the Yuma and Havre sectors picking up the remainder. To compare these numbers to a representative sample of the general population however, I only looked at Pima County, Arizona which had a population of approximately 910,950 in 2003. According to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, there were 752 DUI arrests in the county for the first six months of the year. On a percentage basis, this means 0.08% of Pima County residents were arrested for DUI during the time frame in question.

As such, the DUI rate among Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents was more than 12x greater than the general population in 2003. Regardless of this fact and acknowledgement that Border Patrol agent DUI arrests were only increasing, union boss Tuffly doesn't think it's appropriate for the Border Patrol to suspend agents so arrested for a minimum of 30 days because they are no longer able to do their job.

Tuffly goes on to say that, "Everybody must decide for themselves how to go about their personal lives..." followed by a plea for agents to use more discretion. It would appear that Mr. Tuffly figures Border Patrol agents are above the law and need not obey DUI laws that are inconvenient for agents just trying to decide how to go about their personal lives.

A copy of the Local 2544 Union posting is available below. It is no longer available on the union's website.

A complaint from local Border Patrol union boss Edward Tuffly regarding disciplinary action against 1% of union members arrested for DUI in the first half of 2003

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