Border Patrol hiring spree comes with risk - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Border Patrol hiring spree comes with risk

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is recommending weakening the lie detector requirement for Border Patrol agents. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is recommending weakening the lie detector requirement for Border Patrol agents. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

One of President Donald Trump's signature goals is to increase law enforcement presence along the U.S. border with Mexico. It's less controversial and certainly less publicized than the idea of building a border wall.

But if history serves as a guide, this goal may be tough to achieve as well.

Trump's plan calls for hiring an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents. But right now, the agency is having a tough time filling its currently open positions.

[RELATED: Border Patrol struggles to meet hiring quota]

One of the obstacles commonly mentioned is a stringent polygraph test required of all applicants. An Associated Press investigation earlier this year showed that two-thirds of the applicants are failing the test. The AP says that failure rate is higher than the usual 50 percent other law enforcement agencies see.

As a result, there are calls for the agency to weaken the lie detector requirement. Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake introduced a bill that would do just that.

"We're not proposing to get rid of any lie detector test," said Flake, during an interview from Capitol Hill this week. Flake says his bill would waive the requirement for certain law enforcement officers and military veterans who have already taken a polygraph.

[RELATED: Best CBP estimates say hiring could take decade]

"People fear that moving from one law enforcement position to another, in this case to the Border Patrol, they fear that they'll have a false positive and then they won't be able to go back to where they were or move to another career in law enforcement," said Flake.

But a 2013 Government Accountability Office audit recommended increasing, rather than decreasing, the use of the polygraph. The audit identified 144 Customs and Border Protection employees, who were arrested for corruption-related activities between 2005 and 2012. Congress passed a law requiring the polygraph test for applicants in 2010. That was after President George W. Bush doubled the size of the Border Patrol. Reports of misconduct among agents rose during those years.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter on the CBS 5 Investigates team. His reports have landed crooks behind bars and led to changes in state law.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

He has exposed conmen who prey on the elderly and predators who target women and children. Morgan combines his legal training with the experience he’s earned over 20-years of news reporting in Arizona to break big stories and dig beyond the headlines. His stories about education, consumer scams and crooked politicians have gone on to make national headlines. Among his favorite investigations are the ones that take him undercover. In addition his hidden camera investigations on drug and human smuggling, Morgan infiltrated some of the most dangerous militia and vigilante groups in the southwest. Members were later charged with crimes that range from murder to child molesting. Over the years, Morgan’s work has appeared on CBS News, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and NPR. Morgan won ten Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting, the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award, and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, earned his Juris Doctorate at Concord Law School, teaches media law at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and is the president of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, Inc., which advocates for open records and open government. When he’s not working, Morgan enjoys camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats, and spending time with his family at their ranch in southern Arizona.

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