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Border Patrol uniform gets first makeover since the 1950s
Houston Chronicle/AP ^ | Aug. 16, 2007 | ELLIOT SPAGAT

Posted on 08/16/2007 3:49:02 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch

SAN DIEGO — Leather belts with brass buckles are out; nylon belts with quick-release plastic buckles are in. Slacks are out; lightweight cargo pants are in. Shiny badges and nameplates are out; cloth patches are in.

The Border Patrol uniform is getting its first makeover since the 1950s to look more like military fatigues and less like a police officer's duty garb.

The new uniform, introduced this week, reflects how illegal border crossings have changed in the last decade. As enforcement heightened, routes moved from the streets of San Diego and other border cities to unforgiving, often remote mountains and deserts on the 1,952-mile, U.S.-Mexico border. That means rigorous exercise in extreme heat for migrants — and the agents who pursue them.

"We still do street patrols but 99.9 percent is hills and rugged terrain," said Joe Perez, supervisor of the agency's Chula Vista station, which guards a 7-mile stretch of border in the San Diego area. "We pushed it out to where it's a lot more difficult to cross."

The redesign marks only the second major uniform change since the Border Patrol was created in 1924, said Assistant Border Patrol Chief Scott Garrett, who oversaw the national launch. In the 1950s, World War I-era cavalry-type uniforms were jettisoned.

The new uniform — in the works for three years at a cost of $7.5 million to outfit 14,000 agents — is designed to be "more operational, more tactical," Garrett said.

The quick-release belts are designed to prevent drownings in the Rio Grande and elsewhere, Garrett said. Loaded with flashlights and other gear, the heavy belts made it more difficult to stay afloat. Four agents have drowned since 2003, most recently in May in the Coachella Canal in the southeastern California desert.

Two large pockets with Velcro flaps can hold ready-to-eat meals, flashlight batteries and global positioning system devices.

Badges and nameplates are sewn on because the old, shiny pins often fell off when agents crawled and whacked through brush. The new nameplate matches the olive green uniform to make agents less visible to people who are trying to hide.

"When the moonlight shined on that name badge, you really stood out," Perez said.

The makeover comes shortly after the Border Patrol switched to a lighter .40-caliber handgun. The new holster is a plastic loop, instead of leather snap, which was prone to stretching.

About two dozen agents at Thursday's roll call in San Diego gave generally favorable reviews. The station's 7-mile border stretch rises 4,000 feet east from the bustling Otay Mesa crossing through mountains that are covered by cactus and brush, inaccessible by road.

Jordan Salamat, who spends his shifts walking through mountain brush, said the old uniforms were known to rip on first-time outings, and the pants lacked pocket space.

Ramon Ramirez, an agent for 10 years, said the new garb looks more military, "like you mean business."

The launch didn't go without last-minute hitches and scattered complaints.

Earlier this week, it was postponed to Oct. 1 from Wednesday because some agents didn't get their uniforms in time or ordered the wrong sizes. Then agents were told to be in their new uniforms by Thursday, even though a few didn't have them.

Some agents said the yellow patch badge was still too visible. Others who drive all-terrain vehicles grumbled that the two-piece uniform was inferior to their old jumpsuits, which kept out dirt.

Perez, the station chief, would prefer lighter boots and a nylon holster, but he welcomed the change.

"These are made for climbing over fences and walking up and down hills," he said.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: borderpatrol; bp; cbp; uniform

1 posted on 08/16/2007 3:49:11 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
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To: Roamin53; genxer; time4good; NoTaxTexas; RGVTx; notaliberal; 19th LA Inf; ImpBill; captjanaway; ...

BP ping!

If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.


2 posted on 08/16/2007 3:50:52 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (US Constitution Article 4 Section 4..shall protect each of them against Invasion...domestic Violence)
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To: SwinneySwitch

“Ramon Ramirez, an agent for 10 years, said the new garb looks more military, “like you mean business.””

**************************************************************

Instead of actually meaning business.

Smoke and mirrors.


3 posted on 08/16/2007 3:53:55 PM PDT by peyton randolph (tag line taking a siesta)
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To: SwinneySwitch
"These are made for climbing over fences and walking up and down hills," he said.

Fences?

Oh, not the fence between us and mexico.

Got it.

4 posted on 08/16/2007 3:55:35 PM PDT by AFreeBird (Will NOT vote for Rudy. <--- notice the period)
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To: SwinneySwitch
The one designed by Johnny Sutton:


5 posted on 08/16/2007 3:57:42 PM PDT by flashbunny (<--- Free Anti-Rino graphics! See Rudy the Rino get exposed as a liberal with his own words!)
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To: SwinneySwitch
This is a good development. There is an old saying in the Border Patrol…

“80 years of tradition unhampered by progress”

The old uniforms were junk that I kid you not were Hecho in Mexico.

6 posted on 08/16/2007 3:58:43 PM PDT by usurper (Spelling or grammatical errors in this post can be attributed to the LA City School System)
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To: SwinneySwitch
Their new uniforms IMO need a bit more flair.


7 posted on 08/16/2007 4:00:11 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: SwinneySwitch

I’m glad they’re spending money on uniforms, instead of machine guns, barbed wire, vicious dogs, concrete and landmines.

At least our agents will look good while the government fails to defend the border.


8 posted on 08/16/2007 4:00:48 PM PDT by Wombat101 (Islam: Turning everything it touches to Shi'ite since 632 AD...)
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To: usurper
...were Hecho in Mexico

What does that mean??

9 posted on 08/16/2007 4:01:25 PM PDT by Hazcat (We won an immigration BATTLE, the WAR is not over. Be ever vigilant.)
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To: SwinneySwitch
The makeover comes shortly after the Border Patrol switched to a lighter .40-caliber handgun.

I'd rather a .45!

10 posted on 08/16/2007 4:02:59 PM PDT by Hazcat (We won an immigration BATTLE, the WAR is not over. Be ever vigilant.)
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To: Hazcat
Made in Mexico

The BP union was most displeased.

11 posted on 08/16/2007 4:06:19 PM PDT by usurper (Spelling or grammatical errors in this post can be attributed to the LA City School System)
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To: usurper

Thanks! I’m one of those ‘bigots’ that only speak ‘Merican’. ;)


12 posted on 08/16/2007 4:07:33 PM PDT by Hazcat (We won an immigration BATTLE, the WAR is not over. Be ever vigilant.)
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To: SwinneySwitch

The new uniforms are a nice change. They are more functional and tactical than the old uniforms. Now the service needs to work on the vehicles. With white color schemes, diesel engines, temperature alarms and headlights that don’t turn off, you couldn’t sneak up on a glass of water.


13 posted on 08/16/2007 5:09:35 PM PDT by Ajnin (Neca Eos Omnes. Deus Suos Agnoset.)
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To: SwinneySwitch
How about doing away with the BP entirely and just let the Army patrol the border.

Typical government redundancy.

14 posted on 08/16/2007 5:13:04 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: peyton randolph

Here is an idea:

Instead of trying to make the BP uniforms “look more military”, let’s just put the military on the freaking border.

Right behind the fence.


15 posted on 08/16/2007 5:16:58 PM PDT by gruntSGT (Genuine Certified Card Carrying Foaming at the Mouth Lindsay Graham Hater.)
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To: usurper
Hecho in Mexico

Hopefully the new uniforms will not be "hechoed" by the Mehicano Uniform Company like the old ones were.

16 posted on 08/16/2007 5:18:34 PM PDT by janetgreen
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To: janetgreen

I’d bet these are made in China.


17 posted on 08/16/2007 5:25:11 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: flashbunny

You do the jury system in America no favors by pinning the conviction on the DA. The people convicted these liars. Where’s there’s smoke, by gawd, there’s fire.


18 posted on 08/16/2007 5:27:46 PM PDT by kinghorse
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To: flashbunny

I want to be clear about one thing. It doesn’t give me any comfort knowing how easy it is for the bad guys to compromise the mission of the good guys with $$. Therefore when guys are caught and convicted for a crime they most clearly committed, it tends to put a little more fear in the rest. There needs to be a very very very fricking strong deterent to our border agents getting flipped.


19 posted on 08/16/2007 5:31:13 PM PDT by kinghorse
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To: SwinneySwitch
Here is the new hat ....


20 posted on 08/16/2007 5:45:51 PM PDT by ARE SOLE (Agents Ramos and Campean are in prison at this very moment..)
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To: SwinneySwitch


I like the new uniforms ...
what do you think Woodrow?
21 posted on 08/16/2007 5:49:23 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: flashbunny

Designed by Johnny Sutton, who deserves to be wearing his own creation.


22 posted on 08/16/2007 5:51:35 PM PDT by janetgreen
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To: peyton randolph

“Smoke and mirrors.”

Thats been how immigration enforcement has been for years alas.


23 posted on 08/16/2007 6:04:02 PM PDT by SmoothTalker
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To: SwinneySwitch

Sure, we can spend tax dollars on new uniforms (that’ll never see much use out of fear of doing the job) and yet we can’t seem to find the tax dollars or gumption to build a fence.


24 posted on 08/17/2007 4:25:38 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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