Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the National Park Service on Monday to scrap what he called a dangerous new security plan for the Statue of Liberty, saying that it could leave visitors to the tourist attraction vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
For nearly two years now, the New York Police Department has opposed the Park Service’s plan to screen visitors to the statue at central points on Liberty and Ellis Islands, which were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy and are scheduled to reopen on July 4. In early 2011, Ken Salazar, then the secretary of the interior, intended to announce the change, but he held off because of stiff objections from the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly.
An interesting article titled “U.S. Park Police sheds furloughs after some ‘forensic accounting’ ” has been written by Lisa Rein in the Washington Post regarding the “miraculous” find of money in order for the furlough to be lifted.
So when everyone from the mounted unit to the chief was told to stay home for at least 12 days this spring and summer, the furloughs got little attention — even though the police were the only uniformed federal law enforcement officers to face the indignity of being told they are not essential.
The highlight of the piece is the Labor Committee’s Treasurer, Ofc McSherry, making an astute observation:
“How they did this will be a mystery forever, trust me.”
Today, at 1 pm (EDT) the National Park Service (NPS) announced that furloughs for United States Park Police (USPP) employees will end on June 1. Citing overstated cost projections and cost cutting measures previously taken by the agency, combined with the 3 furlough days taken to date, the NPS found that the agency’s financial situation was such that furloughs would not be necessary beyond June 1.
While this is encouraging news to the members of the USPP FOP, it is important to point out that the agency is still understaffed, poorly funded and lacks financial control of its own operations. We look forward to continuing to bring public and congressional attention to the needs of our membership in protecting the public, as well as our historical and natural resources.
U.S. Park Police