Washington—Two U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees have been named as finalists in the annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Homeland Security Medal for their contributions to keeping America's borders safe and secure.
The employees, Nael Samha and Thomas Roland Jr., were nominated for the award in recognition of their efforts to create a specialized smartphone application that remotely links CBP personnel on the frontline to vitally important databases. Use of the application has directly led to enforcement actions against more than 450 drug traffickers, weapons smugglers, potential terror suspects and others since it was introduced in May 2010.
The application Samha and Roland created makes it easier for officers and agents to access information without being in front of a computer terminal or having to communicate via radio with someone who is. That means those officers and agents can focus fully on their mission.
In addition to CBP's enforcement mission, the application affords new efficiencies for CBP to keep legitimate trade and agriculture moving quickly by allowing officers to release shipments that have been inspected on the spot instead of hours later once they return to a computer terminal.
Samha, a program manager in CBP's Office of Information and Technology and Roland, a program manager in CBP's Office of Field Operations, are among four individuals or groups who are finalists for the medal. The Service to America Medals program is sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service, and the finalists' announcement coincides with Public Service Recognition Week.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13. Previous winners from CBP and its legacy agencies include Robert Rutherford, winner of the 2002 Justice and Law Enforcement medal and Kevin McAleenan, winner of the 2005 Call to Service Medal.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.