In approximately a month, the U. S. Park Police Aviation Unit will take possession of a newer Bell 412 helicopter that will replace the aging Eagle 2 helicopter. Eagle 2 has
over 9,800 flight hours, which is approximately 4,800 hours past DOI replacement regulations. The replacement Bell 412 helicopter has approximately 2500 flight hours. The replacement helicopter is currently on its way to Summit Aviation in Middletown, Delaware to be reconfigured for the U. S. Park Police mission. Additionally, we have received unconfirmed information that the National Park Service will be seeking appropriations in FY’ 2018 to purchase a new Bell 412 replacement aircraft for Eagle 1, that has over 7,000 flight hours. The acquisition of this newer aircraft is a giant step forward for safety, reliability and mission effectiveness.
The event that sparked National Park Service action on this long-ignored problem was a visit by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) to the U. S. Park Police Aviation Unit on January 11, 2016. During the visit Congresswoman McCollum was briefed by the pilots on the needs of the unit. Rep. McCollum made the following statement concerning the newer aircraft’s arrival and expressing her strong support for U. S. Park Police officers:
“The U.S. Park Police’s Aviation Unit provides vital services for our nation’s capital region– criminal searches, medical evacuations, air support at public gatherings, escorts for the President, and anti-terrorism missions. I will continue to use my position as Ranking Member on the Interior-Environment Appropriations subcommittee to ensure the men and women of the USPP have the equipment they need to do their jobs and keep our residents and visitors safe. To that end, I’m pleased that the National Park Service is pursuing the purchase of a newer helicopter.”
The USPP FOP is extremely grateful for the generous support of Congresswoman McCollum.
Brothers and Sisters,
2015 was both an unusual year and a very average year for us. We had a budget increase but a paltry one.
We got to prepare to watch as the National Park Service squanders MILLIONS of dollars on a birthday party while we drive cars that should be condemned,
a radio system that belongs in a museum and a lack of man power on the street. We lost a few members to that seemingly unforeseeable thing
called “retirement” and we lost quite a few more to that thing called ‘better paying jobs in better funded agencies”. These are all both common and
unusual occurrences for the United States Park Police.
As 2016 is upon us, let us look forward to a year of ‘more of the same’.
The US Park Police helicopters are 9 months older and have even more flight hours. The National Park Service has continued to recklessly ignore this critical issue.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE NEGLECT OF U. S. PARK POLICE OPERATIONAL READINESS EQUALS:
US PARK POLICE NOT STAFFED OR EQUIPPED TO EFFECTIVELY RESPOND TO CRITICAL INCIDENTS
US PARK POLICE NOT STAFFED OR EQUIPPED TO EFFECTIVELY PROTECT THE ICONS — (ICONS= LINCOLN MEMORIAL, JEFFERSON MEMORIAL, WASHINGTON MONUMENT, STATUE OF LIBERTY, ETC.)
In other news, the NPS vigorously seeks 100 million to celebrate their birthday (Centennial) in the 2016 budget. (See: http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY-2016-Greenbook.pdf )