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Investigators review Border Patrol shootings. Federal agency wants to make sure they're independent

Last year’s fatal shooting of a Tohono O’odham man in southern Arizona by U.S. Border Patrol agents is one example of what federal authorities call a critical incident.

The watchdog wants more done by Customs and Border Protection to insure the independence of those sent to investigate these incidents.

Federal authorities consider an incident critical if it involves serious injury, death or use of force, or draws major news coverage.

The Office of Professional Responsibility took over critical incident investigations in 2022. There wasn’t enough staff at first. Then, a hiring surge nearly doubled the total number of investigators. Now, the Government Accountability Office says more than half of the new hires came from Border Patrol, and bias could affect their work.

CBP says a training program on investigator independence is expected to be finalized by the end of July.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.