HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is no stranger to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s expanding role in Jefferson County, and on Tuesday she traveled to the area to get a personal update on new developments at the facilities.
Capito, R-W.Va., who chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, visited the CBP’s Advanced Training Center off U.S. 340 near Harpers Ferry and also the agency’s training facilities at Summit Point.
She toured the facilities, met with officers, received briefings from CBP leadership and participated in training exercises conducted on site.
“Summit Point and Harpers Ferry are home to critical training grounds for the men and women dedicated to keeping our country safe,” Capito said in a telephone interview.
“I’ve been really pleased to help with the growth at the Advanced Training Center in Harpers Ferry," she said. "What I saw included new cohorts of agents who are now being trained, and there’s a place for them to stay on the campus now that wasn’t there before.
“They’re going to do a whole distance learning center that we helped them get the money for. They’ve got 300 people working there and are getting ready to bring another 75 folks on, too."
These are federal jobs that pay well, and many of the employees are local so the money they earn goes back into the community, she said.
“In my leadership role on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I made it a priority to support the good work of the ATC and expand its operations capacity because I recognized the potential and opportunity there,” Capito said.
She said she was instrumental in developing the partnership between Summit Point and the CBP when the facility was vacated by the State Department as a training facility in November 2019.
In southern Jefferson County, the Summit Point location has facilities for classroom instruction, physical training, firing ranges, breeching and tactical movement skills and other specialties.
Capito authored a provision in one of her Homeland Security Appropriations bills providing funding for the expansion of CBP work there.
“Now, however, the CBP occupies that area and is beginning to use it for training for drones, medical training and police training. So that’s a great way to keep people employed in the Eastern Panhandle, too,” she said.
The Advanced Training Center is designed to train and educate agency personnel to meet emerging homeland security challenges at the nation’s borders, she said.
In 2020, Capito authored language included in the fiscal 2020 appropriations bill that included a $9 million award for expansion at the ATC.