Criminal justice and MPA alumna becomes a U.S. Customs & Border Protection officer
A University of Guam alumna has graduated from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Field Operations Academy and is now back in Guam serving in a capacity she was motivated toward ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
Kimberly Dela Cruz, who earned her bachelor’s in criminal justice in 2016 followed by her Master of Public Administration in 2018 from the University of Guam, graduated from the academy as a CBP officer on Aug. 22 alongside 46 other classmates. She recently accepted a job as an officer at the Guam International Airport Authority.
Customs & Border Protection, under the Department of Homeland Security, is one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies and is charged with border management and control and enforcing regulations in regard to trade, customs, immigration, and agricultural protection. The 89-day Field Operations Academy, held in Glynco, Ga., prepares trainees to become CBP officers.
One of the main things that peaked Dela Cruz’s interest in becoming a CBP officer is the organization’s mission to prevent dangerous people and materials from entering the United States.
“The 9/11 attacks were very horrific incidents to the lives of the American people,”
Dela Cruz said. “As a single mother of three, I do not want my children to experience
another terrifying event. I want to take part in securing and protecting our borders.”
Dela Cruz had to first pass the program’s extensive application process, which includes an entrance exam, a background investigation, a fitness test, an interview, a polygraph exam, a drug test, and other requirements. She then attended the basic training program, where trainees undergo physical fitness training and are instructed in legal and technical procedures, driving as a law enforcement officer, the use of firearms, tactical concepts, medical response, and how to handle practical situations.
Dela Cruz said her education at the University of Guam and the School of Business & Public Administration helped her significantly during the rigorous program and in preparing for the career that now lies ahead of her.
“I vividly remember the lectures from Professor Ron Aguon’s Criminal Law class, Dr. Ron McNinch’s Intergovernmental Relations class, and Dr. John Rivera’s Public Policy class, to name a few,” she said. “I was Professor Aguon’s teaching assistant, and I was able to pick his brain, not just academically, but as a whole person.”
She said she feels fortunate to be stationed back in Guam and to fulfill her long-time desire to help protect the nation and her home community.