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Magnus Looks Ahead: The New Commissioner Lays Out His Vision for CBP and the Relationships That Will Help Move the Agency Forward


After four decades in law enforcement, Commissioner Chris Magnus maintains an enthusiasm for learning new things from other people. CBP photo by Glenn Fawcett. Graphic by Janice Swan-Jones

Sitting down with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus to discuss his first 100 days at the helm of the nation’s largest federal law enforcement agency, the conversation quickly focused on the importance of working with people to get things done. “Everything I feel has been a successful accomplishment has been the result of a team that I’ve been part of.”

Working with others is a trademark of his management style. He describes himself as having a participative leadership ethos. “I know I certainly don’t have all the answers [and] you can be in a career like I had for four decades and still have a lot to learn,” said Magnus. “My management style will always reflect my enthusiasm and acknowledgement that there’s a lot that I can learn from other people and that will help me be more effective in leading CBP.”

Magnus’ career spans four decades and the continental U.S. He began his law enforcement career in Michigan, with the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department before achieving the rank of captain with the Lansing Police Department. Magnus moved on to become chief of police in Fargo, North Dakota; Richmond, California; and Tucson, Arizona.

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