Recuerdo on Integrity
Recuerdo on Integrity (Roger Stout)
by Dick Mauer
In summer 2009 The Borderline printed a request from a Border Patrol Supervisor for stories highlighting the integrity heritages experienced by retired Agents from their career that could be used to inspire and educate present day trainees.
I submitted the following and the recent death notice for Roger Stout both saddened me deeply and caused me to share the stories as a recuerdo. Roger Stout was a "poster" Agent who looked like a million bucks in uniform every day. He was a supervisor who stood out in a time of giants. I had an opportunity to remind Roger of these stories at a FORBPO conference a few years ago and I am happy that I did. RIP Roger Stout
In 1967 I transferred from Calexico to Indio. The station had a good cadre of supervisors and was led by the Station Senior, Roger Stout. Roger went on to be the Chief Patrol Agent in Laredo, I believe, but the examples of his integrity in leadership were experienced in Indio.
The prosecution program in El Centro Sector utilized a program designed to keep tabs on the load aliens needed to testify against smugglers without locking them up. It was called the "Testigo Program" and allowed aliens to be farmed out to labor contractors to work in the Coachella Valley until they were needed for trial. As you can imagine, the labor contractors were very happy with this program as they received a portion of the wages plus a small stipend from the government for keeping track of them. They probably charged the aliens for housing and food too. All in all, a windfall. UNOIMSAYIN
By the nature of the business we always looked at labor contractors as probable and potential smugglers and we now found ourselves in the situation where the contractors were seeming to look at the Patrol as their personal benefactors. It reached a point where they wanted to bring bushels of fruits and vegetables to the station like they were thanking us, and one morning had actually stacked up several bushels of produce at the back door of the station. Stout came in at six that morning, saw what happened and immediately called the contractor to come and get the goods. He further put out a warning to all contractors never to offer any free goods to any Border Patrol Agent. Roger Stout did not have to justify his actions to us and I'm sure he realized that a few melons or tomatoes were tempting to Agents, who after all,had nothing to do with placing these testigos. Roger's statement was this "we're not ever going to appear like we're beholding to or accepting of gifts from labor contractors"
The second example furnished by Stout involved his leading of an early morning raid of the National Horse Show during Indio's Date Festival Days. Stout had received information concerning a number of illegals working as grooms, exercise boys, and stable hands and organized a 5am visit by about 7 Agents.. I recall that we apprehended 18 wets and by the time we got back to the station for processing, the phone was ringing constantly. We had calls from the Mayor, U.S. Congressmen, the Governor's office (Reagan at the time) and several major media raising questions of bias and discrimination in our enforcement efforts. The Chamber of Commerce said we were trying to ruin their Date Festival. Toward late afternoon, while awaiting transportation from El Centro, Roger came out of his office and announced. "Boys, they need another visit at the Horse Show, be in at 5am". We went back and got 15 more the next morning. I don't remember too many phone calls that day. Roger Stout didn't bend to pressure.