There will be a lot fewer U.S. Park Police officers on duty to watch over tourists visiting the nation's capital this summer.
Big furloughs are coming to the agency beginning April 26th and they will last through September.
"Every employee of the US Park Police from the Chief of Police on down to the rank and file that I represent will have to take 112 hours of furlough," Ian Glick, President of the U.S. Park Police says. "Our effectiveness will definitely be curtailed quite a bit."
Glick says those furloughs will slash Park Police paychecks by nine hours a pay period through September 30th, peak tourist season.
"If an event normally would get 100 officers, and the agency can only afford 25, do the math and you can see how our effectiveness will be curtailed," Glick says.
Glick says he's looking to the Interior Department and National Park Service, which have jurisdiction over Park Police to get some emergency relief money from Congress to lessen the impact of furloughs.
"We've got several members on the Hill who are worried about the impact on public safety and icons. We're hoping the Department of Interior and National Park Service will step forward and request this funding," Glick says.
NPS Director Jon Jarvis says, "it upsets me to see our brothers and sisters in the U.S. Park Police go on furlough. Sequestration was designed as an across-the-board action and it falls on every national park, every National Park Service program and on the U.S. Park Police."
An Interior Department spokeswoman say the Agency has instituted a hiring freeze, cut overtime, and travel to try and comply with the sequester cuts, but "like all Interior organizations, the U.S. Park Police had to make the difficult decisions about how to absorb these reductions," Spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw says.
Even if Congress doesn't act, Glick says the public can still count of U.S. Park Police to do what they can to keep them safe," Glick says.
"I believe the furloughs are going to happen and when they do, we'll have to make the most of a bad situation," Glick says.
Late this week, the National Park Service did come up with some money to cover overtime at some of the big summer time events, but that won't stop the furloughs. Only that relief funding can do that, Glick says.
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