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Report shows hundreds of feds threatened, assaulted on-the-job at land management agencies

Employees of four federal land management agencies have endured a lot of on-the-job trouble—including hundreds of threats and actual assaults—over recent years, according to a new report.

The study, in a series of revealing tables, provides a statistical breakdown of the incidents, covering the years 2013 to 2017, by department—including the Government Accountability Office, shows that workers at the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.

For example, Forest Service employees over that period suffered 87 incidents involving “threatening, resisting, intimidating or interfering with any forest officer” in the executing of certain duties. However, the report enumerates that there were scores of other threats and acts of violence recorded under other statutes at the agency—and that many threats at the Forest Service, and at other agencies, were not even reported.

“[I]ncidents ranged from telephone threats to attempted murder against federal land management employees,” the report said. “However, the number of actual threats and assaults is unclear and may be higher than what is captured in available data for various reasons.”

In any case, the report illustrates a need to better protect, and otherwise improve the safety of, federal employees in these vulnerable positions.

The report, “Federal land management agencies: Additional actions needed to address facility security assessment requirements,” is available online at:  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6496987-GAOthreatslandstaff.html.

Reader comments

Thu, Oct 24, 2019

Public land use has been a hot topic and the stewards of the land are trapped between the public and laws they are expected to enforce. I do not condone taking action against them, but looking at the current restrictions put on the public, I see why some people have reached a breaking point. I really do not feel this will get better until the public can be more involved in how the lands are used - It seems that there are organizations pushing for exclusiveness rather making the lands open for use.

Thu, Oct 24, 2019 Wayne

Anybody remember the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge offices? The perpetrators largely got away with it.

Thu, Oct 24, 2019

Not surprised. But not great either.

Thu, Oct 24, 2019

At the big outfit in Bethesda, management is well known to threaten rank and file civil servants both physically and verbally. The senior management pushes this behavior under the rug and the offenders often get large bonuses and promotions. Senior management actually endorses such activity. It is pathetic nothing has been done to hold such managers responsible with actions such as being fired or removed entirely from management ranks along with a major reduction in salary. This happens with older employees and women.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
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Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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