As members of the Customs Border Protection (CBP) division of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs Agent careers play a very important role in protecting U.S. citizens from the threat of terrorism, the smuggling of drugs and other forms of contraband, human trafficking, and the transfer of potential pests and pathogens that threaten U.S. agriculture.
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The state of Colorado has a number of official ports of entry under the Portland Field Office that are manned by Customs Agents. These include:
- Centennial Airport
- Colorado Springs Office
- Denver Port Office
- Eagle County Regional Airport
- Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport
The Role of U.S. Customs Agents in Colorado
Preventing terrorism is the number one goal of the Department of Homeland Security, and Customs Agents are on the frontline of these efforts. The ski/tourism industry of the state is an attractive target for eco-terrorists, and the ski area in Vail received $12 million worth of damage in 1998 from the detonation of explosives by such terrorists. Agents receive information from the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC) when there are potential threats to the security of the state.
Customs Agents monitor the people that fly into the state and ascertain whether they are bringing drugs or other forms of contraband into the state. Drug smuggling by air is a common occurrence in the U.S., and Customs Agents have canine assistance in ferreting out this type of malfeasance.
Inspection of fruit, vegetables, and meat products that people try to bring with them into the state is another task of a specialized type of Custom Agent: the Agricultural Specialists. Although less high profile than the threat of terrorism, there are a number of pathogens and pests that could cause devastating losses to agriculture in the U.S. It is a high priority of the CBP to increase the training of Customs Agents to better detect such potential threats.
Custom Agent Job Requirements in Colorado
The jobs of Customs Agents are varied and require a high degree of training and finesse. This elite group of government employees is selected from a pool of applicants that include a large number of veterans. Applicants must pass a physical exam, drug and alcohol testing, and an entrance exam.
Those who are selected undergo rigorous training in law, firearms usage, driving, and if they do not speak Spanish, they are immersed in the language. Once trained, they report to their station in Colorado and then take part in the Field Training Officer (FTO) program. They must also complete additional training as part of the Post Academy Training Program. Thus, Customs Agents are highly trained for their role in protecting U.S. security.