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New Shifts for Border Patrol Agents Improve Morale and Officer Safety, Says Union VP

Agents in Texas have finally received something other agents have had for a very long time – stable work shifts. Agents will now be able to bid for 6-month shifts instead of the current rotating shifts.

“This change will have a major impact on officer safety and the morale of the Border Patrol agents working in Texas,” National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Vice President Shawn Moran told Breitbart Texas in an interview on Monday. “We have had agents injured and killed because of the previous rotating shifts. People will also be able to plan better for things like childcare and education.”

The change came about because of the work of the NBPC and acting Border Patrol Chief Ronald D. Vitiello.  “Vitiello is the epitome of a real leader,” Moran told Breitbart Texas. “His priorities are in the right place. He shows a good balance between accomplishing the mission and the care of his employees.”

Under the prior system, agents would rotate through different shifts. The changing of the shifts takes a toll on the workers, Moran said. “This will allow people to be on the same shift for six months,” he explained. “Agents can plan their lives better and are happier because they are working a shift they enjoy.”

The NBPC issued a statement thanking Chief Vitiello for his decision to bring about the “Bid-For-Shift” plan:

Over the past few years Chief Vitiello has been a strong advocate for agents and during his time as the decision maker he’s put the mission first while also improving our agents’ lives. Under his leadership we have been able to create more mobility for agents than ever before. We got rid of the clean shifts that Chief David Aguilar implemented just so other non-agent priorities could be met. We’ve been able to create a HIP program for all agents and we’ve been able to get much better uniforms, even though our shirts still have to be changed in the near future. Unlike most of his predecessors, Chief Vitiello has not been self-serving, rather he’s made the decisions he feels are best for the agency and the agents.

Chief Vitiello understands the issues that come from some self-serving managers and agents within the Border Patrol and the need to change and improve. He’s endeavored to enact positive change through positive programs involving agent safety and stabilizing pay and not mere words. He’s the only chief that has held his managers accountable and not just agents. Commissioner Kerlikowske has been beating the culture change drum for over two years without realizing the change has been taking place under his nose by a man who goes quietly about his work with class and dignity. If the commissioner truly wants to make a positive change in the culture of the Border Patrol, he need not look any further than the chief he already has in place; a chief that has the trust and respect of his managers and bargaining unit agents alike.

Moran said that moves by the acting chief make working for the Border Patrol more enjoyable. “Some people like working the night shift where they can make some extra money. Others prefer days because of childcare obligations or education related issues. This lets people make choices that better fit their lifestyle and that improves both morale and safety.”

Vitiello is currently the acting Border Patrol Chief. The Department of Homeland Security is currently conducting a search for a permanent chief. “The Border Patrol already has a great leader,” Moran said about Vitiello. “We believe the agency could do no better than to select him to the permanent position. No one has more experience with the border and Border Patrol agents.”

A decision on the permanent chief is expected to be made later this month.

Editor’s Note: This article inadvertently noted Shawn Moran as president of the NBPC. The article has been updated to reflect his position as vice president, 

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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