On March 2, 2022, Rep. Norton wrote the U. S. Park Police (USPP) requesting they expand the Force’s Home-to-Work (HTWVP) vehicle program. Rep. Norton did this because she is aware that:
- Currently the USPP has fewer Officers than it had in 1975.
- That this dangerously low staffing severely limits the Force’s ability to swiftly and effectively respond to critical incidents. (e.g., Riots, Terrorist Attacks, Active Shooters, Crash Investigations, etc.)
- Swift and effective responses offer the best chance to mitigate the consequences of critical incidents.
- Providing every USPP officer with a Home-to-Work vehicle would permit them to respond directly from home to the scene of a critical incident. This would greatly speed the response because officers would not have to stop to gear up at the stations. This is vital as the USPP has for some time lacked sufficient on-duty officers to respond effectively to critical incidents.
Rep. Norton asked for the USPP to respond by March 16, 2022. On May 13, 2022, the USPP was finally able to provide a one page reply.
In the portion of the USPP letter concerning Home-to-Work Vehicles Chief Stock stated:
“The use of government vehicles is controlled by several laws and regulations to ensure the best use of any taxpayer dollars and government property. In addition to ensuring that any decisions we make regarding government vehicles meets the letter and spirit of the law, we must ensure we are making fiscally responsible and sustainable decisions with our funding.”
Notice how Chief Stock avoids mentioning or discussing how the USPP and many other Federal agencies already justify and provide vehicles to their officers.
The next paragraph of the USPP letter concerns staffing. Chief Stock states:
” We appreciate your strong interest in how the USPP responds to emergencies in the District of Columbia and can assure you we are prepared for these events. We have regularly scheduled coordination meetings with Federal, state, and local partner agencies to ensure the residents and visitors in the National Capital Region are protected.”
In this paragraph Chief Stock dismisses the mountain of evidence supporting the assertion that the USPP is Dangerously Understaffed. The NPS and the USPP’s reliance on “partner” agencies to save the day won’t work too well if our “partners” have their own problems on that day. Every day the USPP remains severely understaffed is a risky gamble with people’s lives. History has repeatedly demonstrated that having effective response forces, that are properly equipped saves lives. The ability to swiftly respond, quickly end the threat and immediately start treating casualties is critical.
NOTE: These two letters can be viewed further down on this page.