As the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hiring surge becomes a reality under an executive order from President Donald Trump, new hires will focus on civil and criminal immigration enforcement.
Many of these new employees will train at the Maneuver Center of Excellence U.S. Army base in Fort Benning, Georgia, where ICE’s Office of Training and Tactical Programs (OTTP) Firearms and Tactics Division makes its home. The division plans on increasing its number of faculty and students by the hundreds.
The massive Army base covers more than 182,000 acres of land and supports 120,000 military personnel and their families.
ICE Division Chief, Bert Medina, explained what takes place at Fort Benning.
The students at OTTP Fort Benning are experienced ICE law enforcement personnel who have volunteered or taken on collateral duties in order to be instructors. Instruction is available for defensive tactics, firearms, lethal weapons, restraints technique, intermediate batons and empty-handed techniques. ICE instructors are able to conduct periodic qualifications for 13,000 ICE officers in the field.
Kalym Wagers, one of the OTTP section chiefs, takes his work very seriously.
“In my opinion, training someone to win a fight for their life is the greatest professional responsibility an officer or agent can have during a career,” he said. “Our objective here at Fort Benning is to create use of force instructors that train the ICE workforce to safely protect themselves and others while at the same time mitigate liability to themselves and the agency.”
ICE personnel at Fort Benning are ready to adapt to the expected changes.
“As our organization continues to evolve and ICE’s workforce continues to grow and meet new challenges,” said Wagers, “the work done at Fort Benning will continue to be vital to the agency’s success and safety.”