Former CBP head Magnus to join police reform nonprofit the Policing Project

Published: Thursday, January 5, 2023 - 11:36am
Updated: Thursday, January 5, 2023 - 11:37am
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Chris Magnus

Former Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus will join an organization focused on police reform.

The announcement comes after the former Tucson police chief's controversial exit from CBP in November. He headed efforts to address long-standing accusations of racism and other issues within the agency, but his resignation came less than a year into his term amid internal disagreements. 

Now he’s joining the Policing Project, a nonprofit at NYU's School of Law that's focused on reforming police departments around the country. He says questions about hiring, training and reform exist across all levels of law enforcement. 

"At CBP for example, that’s going to involve migrants and local community members and stakeholders dealing with issues at the border, you know, issues of use of force apply across the board," he said. 

Before joining CBP, Magnus spent 40 years heading police departments, most recently in Tucson. As a senior adviser for public safety at the Policing Project, he says he wants to put what he learned both at CBP and within local departments into practice.

"My experience is that communities first of all want agencies to be transparent about what's going on, even when the news isn't always good," he said. "They want data on the website. ... They want body camera footage to be available. But they also want accountability in the form of assurance that if they make a complaint, it's going to be handled."

He's expected to work on initiatives from the Policing Project including a tool to help cities measure how their law enforcement practices, transparency and accountability compare to other departments around the country, and another focused on how police reforms have affected five key cities — including Tucson.

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