Citizens Learning How to Track Illegal Immigrants
Border Patrol teaches citizens how to track illegal immigrants
BY JAMES GILBERT, SUN STAFF WRITER – Yuma Sun
Students who attended this year’s Border Patrol Citizen’s Academy were shown the skill of “sign cutting,” on the second day of the two days of classes.
“The students learned about the most rudimentary, yet essential technique utilized on a daily basis by Border Patrol agents in our sector,” said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Ben Vik. “Each student used their newly learned skill to detect an entry and follow it until they found a group of simulated illegal aliens.”
A biannual event now, the first day of the Yuma Sector’s Citizen’s Academy was held on Sept. 5.
Day two, which was held on Friday, featured agents teaching those in attendance how to track illegal aliens using “sign cutting” techniques.
Sign cutting is a method of tracking the Border Patrol utilizes to detect and follow human beings and vehicles that have entered the U.S. illegally.
They were also shown some other, more technologically advanced tools of the trade that agents use to detect illegal entries, such as “scope trucks” and “skyboxes.”
“The use of sign cutting and these two technologies helps cut down the time it takes to track down a group of illegal aliens,” Vik said.
A scope truck is a vehicle that has a mast attached to it and a telescopic day/night camera mounted atop it.
“Usually we set the scope truck up ahead of illegal aliens in the direction they are suspected of going and use it to guide agents to the group,” Vik said.
A skybox is a high-tech watchtower equipped with sophisticated surveillance equipment. The skybox is air conditioned and can be set up in various locations.
“It is a really good deterrent because a would-be crosser knows there is an agent inside them,” Vik said.
The attendees also went out on a mock patrol near the Yuma Sector headquarters building and located a simulated illegal entry and followed sets of footprints until they located the group of simulated illegal aliens.
The mock group of illegal aliens was played by Border Patrol trainee agents.
This current session of the Border Patrol Citizen Academy is filled to capacity but other academies will be held in the near future. If you have any questions, please contact the Yuma Sector Public Affairs Office at 928-341-6559.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854.