US Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers was suspended on Friday for speaking out about the need for increased funding to hire more park police officers to patrol national monuments. The Associated Press reports that she is under investigation and was asked to clear out her desk, relinquish her badge, firearm, and government ID. US Park Service Deputy Director Don Murphy claims that Chambers broke two federal rules by speaking about a budget issue before the budget was finalized but refuses to identify which specific rules she had violated, the Washington Post reports.
Chambers, who was appointed as the first woman chief of the US Park Police in February 2002, had truthfully answered reporters’ questions about US Park Police needs for the future and said that there was a shortfall of officers covering certain parks because of new orders to place more officers at the major monuments like the Washington Monument, the Post continued. Due to the shortfalls some parks are reporting more crime and there has been an increase in accidents on parkways.
Doug Hartnett of the watchdog group Government Accountability Project told the Post, “Rather than focus on the real issue of the threat to security and public safety that the police chief identified, they try to distract the public by citing some arcane ‘rule’ that doesn’t exist or doesn’t apply. It is all a bluff. But unfortunately, they often get away with destroying a good public servant’s career, and making sure no one else considers ‘committing the truth.'”