Posted on September 29, 2008

Border Patrol Teaches Citizens How to Track Illegal Immigrants

James Gilbert, Yuma Sun, September 15, 2008

Students who attended this year’s Border Patrol Citizen’s Academy were shown the skill of “sign cutting,” on the second day of the two days of classes.

“The students learned about the most rudimentary, yet essential technique utilized on a daily basis by Border Patrol agents in our sector,” said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Ben Vik. “Each student used their newly learned skill to detect an entry and follow it until they found a group of simulated illegal aliens.”


Day two, which was held on Friday, featured agents teaching those in attendance how to track illegal aliens using “sign cutting” techniques.

Sign cutting is a method of tracking the Border Patrol utilizes to detect and follow human beings and vehicles that have entered the U.S. illegally.

They were also shown some other, more technologically advanced tools of the trade that agents use to detect illegal entries, such as “scope trucks” and “skyboxes.”


A scope truck is a vehicle that has a mast attached to it and a telescopic day/night camera mounted atop it.


A skybox is a high-tech watchtower equipped with sophisticated surveillance equipment. The skybox is air conditioned and can be set up in various locations.


The attendees also went out on a mock patrol near the Yuma Sector headquarters building and located a simulated illegal entry and followed sets of footprints until they located the group of simulated illegal aliens.


This current session of the Border Patrol Citizen Academy is filled to capacity but other academies will be held in the near future. If you have any questions, please contact the Yuma Sector Public Affairs Office at 928-341-6559.