Visitation to Washington, D.C., monuments and national park facilities has hit a record level of more than 40 million people a year, and demonstrations following Donald Trump’s election are showing no signs of abating, yet the number of U.S. Park Police are at the lowest point in nearly a decade, according to staffing figures released by the nonprofit environmental protection organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
In fiscal year 2016 there were 406 Park Police officers in the D.C. metro area, down from 466 in FY 2010 and even reduced from 417 in FY 2015. In 2015 these officers were required to respond to more than 25,000 incidents, 50,000 search-rescues and nearly 4,500 crimes.
“The U.S. Park Police are at a low ebb while facing a rising tide,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch in a press release. “In recent years, this force has not had the personnel to match its mission and that gap is only growing larger.”
Ruch also noted PEER had difficulty obtaining information on the Park Police because the organization “apparently does not have enough staff to handle routine information requests.”