Every day, human and drug traffickers, smugglers, criminals and terrorists attempt to enter the U.S. through one of our 328 ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for preventing these unlawful entries by securing and screening nearly one million people at our ports of entry and borders on a daily basis. CBP has implemented face comparison and ID validation verification technologies to drastically reduce the number of people that require direct screening by CBP officers. However, in order to successfully determine who is legally allowed to enter the country and who isn’t, training in identity verification, also known as impostor detection, and ID verification are still critical to the CBP mission to examine credentials and effectively validate the identity of persons attempting to enter the country.
Identity verification and impostor detection are critical, yet challenging skills to learn and execute. Without proper training, CBP officers may experience inconsistent results and varying degrees of success during their attempts to validate the identity and credentials of people entering the country. To remain at the forefront of training technologies, CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and FLETC Training Innovations Division (TID) to develop a new technology that uses eye tracking feedback to maximize officer performance in impostor identification and ID validation training.
In 2016, DHS S&T transitioned the new training system to CBP’s OFO Academy. Eye-dentify™, developed in collaboration with Design Interactive Inc., uses eye-tracking technology and training software to teach CBP officers the skills and best practices related to X-ray screening, identity verification/impostor detection, and ID validation. Leveraging these S&T-developed tools will help ensure that officers can reliably and consistently execute their mission in this area as efficiently and accurately as possible.
Over the past 3 years, the efficacy of Eye-dentify™ has been repeatedly demonstrated by the CBP OFO Academy through full implementation of the system in imposter detection and ID validation training for all new officers. During various training effectiveness evaluations and post transition performance assessments at FLETC, newly-hired CBP officers who participated in a series of just three, 7-minute Eye-dentify™ training sessions demonstrated a nine percent improvement in their ability to confidently and correctly detect impostors, and a ten percent improvement in the amount of time it took them to identify the impostors.
The CBP Office of Field Operations Academy’s comprehensive process of evaluating and adopting leading edge technology has provided an invaluable tool in the Eye-dentify™ device.
“Eye-dentify™ allows our veteran instructors to work one on one with trainees to hone their skills, delivering a personalized training experience and crafting the evolved CBP officer of tomorrow,” said Christopher Holtzer, CBP Office of Field Operations Academy (FOA) Director.
To date, S&T has transitioned 24 Eye-dentify™ systems to CBP that are currently implemented in the OFO Academy classrooms.
The addition of 12 upgraded systems in 2019 enables CBP to train entire classes simultaneously, as well as double the amount of time each student gets to spend using the system. The new improved systems will also provide the ability to train agents in X-ray image analysis. Additional follow-on efforts being discussed include working with the CBP’s OFO Academy to expand the system’s agricultural threat image database to enhance X-ray image analysis training for CBP’s airiculture Inspectors. This new database is being developed in collaboration with international partners to maximize the variety and robustness of the threats included in the database, and is expected to increase CBP officers’ abilities in the detection of agricultural threats during operational X-ray image analysis at ports of entry.