Federal Park Police ‘in crisis’ after being understaffed and underfunded

Josh Hypes, DCNF

The union representing the U.S. Park Police (USPP) warned the Biden administration that staffing shortages will compromise the safety of visitors at national parks in a letter to the Department of the Interior.

The USPP is facing a “crisis of alarming proportions” in recruiting and retaining officers, Chairman of the Federal Parks Fraternal Order of Police Kenneth Spencer said in the letter sent to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

“No one enjoys saying it, but you and I both know that the  thousands of families who visit the national parks in Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco every single day are not as safe as they should be because there are not enough officers on patrol to meet our mission,” Spencer wrote.

Spencer argued that the current 509 U.S. Park Police officers in its urban jurisdictions fall woefully below the target of at least 639 police recommended by the National Park Service. An independent study contracted by the union showed the U.S. Park Police would need to recruit at least 800 officers to adequately secure urban parks.

“Our agency is in crisis, the public who visit our parks are not safe and our officers and potential recruits have little incentive to pursue a career with the USPP,” Spencer warned.

Spencer recommended USPP adopt a similar incentive model to the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department of awarding new recruits with a $20,000 signing bonus in order to meet the demands of the growing crime wave in Washington DC.

The Federal Parks Fraternal Order of Police did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

The Department of the Interior declined to comment, referring the TheDCNF to the National Park Service. The National Park Service did not immediately respond to TheDCNF.

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