STOP DEPT. OF INTERIOR ENFORCEMENT BILL
(to protect author's job)
Dec. 31, 2001
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One more time today on these issues... This topic does seem to have bearing for us in AK. While some of us will argue that we are in need of more Brown Shirt Troopers, I don't think this is an area we want the Federal Govt. picking up the responsibility / authority just to save us a few dollars. We need to stay informed as to the specifics of the proposed increase in responsibilities, and participate in the decision process. Remember also, that this is federal legislation, not state.
Please read the following.
STOP THIS BAD IDEA FROM GOING FURTHER
A draft bill is circulating inside Department of Interior (DOI) that would give DOI officers full law enforcement authority. The draft bill has a title, Department of Interior Law Enforcement Clarification Act of 2001. It authorizes DOI officers to carry firearms, make arrests without a warrant, and other powers usually reserved to federal law enforcement agencies, local sheriffs, and police.
For years, DOI has tried to acquire this authority. In 1997 Secretary of Interior Babbitt tried the rule-making route that provoked a firestorm of protest. Eventually, the public opposition was so great that Babbitt withdrew the rule.
Now, DOI is using the recent terrorist attacks as justification for once again seeking an increase in their law enforcement authority. Despite our present national crisis, the idea is just as bad now as it was in 1997. DOI officers already have the necessary authority they need which allows them to work with local law enforcement.
You need to tell Secretary of Interior Gale Norton that this is a bad idea. DOI does not need additional law enforcement authority. This draft bill should not go any further.
DOI's e-mail and internet capabilities are out of commission at this time. Timely mail delivery has not been restored. To get the message to Secretary Norton, you must use fax. Below is a sample letter you can use with the fax number.
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Honorable Gale Norton,
Secretary Department of Interior
1849 C St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Secretary Norton:
I understand that proposed legislation, Department of Interior Law Enforcement Clarification Act of 2001, is circulating within Department of Interior (DOI) that gives additional law enforcement authority to DOI officers. I oppose any proposal that would broaden the scope of DOI law enforcement.
When Secretary Babbitt made a similar proposal by rule making in 1997, it sparked national protest. Many accounts surfaced of heavy-handed tactics by these same personnel, even without additional authority. The proposed rule was withdrawn.
DOI personnel already have the means to work with other federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities on civil and criminal issues. Although I am sympathetic for the need for more defense and law enforcement since the horrifying terrorist attacks, DOI officers already have all the authority they need to fulfill their responsibility.
The bill is divisive and would spark conflict between federal agents, local law enforcement, and the public. It would position federal agency law enforcement above local law enforcement that would further erode safety, communication, and coordination.
With DOI's past history in mind, this current effort smacks of opportunism. This proposed legislation should go no further.
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