WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today announced the establishment of a new departmental law enforcement task force to implement the highest standards for protecting the public and provide necessary policy guidance, resources, and training to agency personnel. With a focus on equity and evidence-based decision making, the task force will review and identify opportunities for improvement in the law enforcement programs of the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“Interior’s law enforcement programs and officers play a crucial role in protecting our nation’s most cherished resources and the members of the public who visit them. I am confident that this Department-wide approach will identify meaningful paths to assist law enforcement and communities in strengthening trust and collaboration, while ushering the nation into the next phase of community-focused law enforcement,” said Secretary Haaland.
Led by the Department’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security, the task force will include a representative from each bureau law enforcement program and rely on other subject matter experts within the Department to support this initiative. It will focus on ways to strengthen public trust and confidence in Interior’s law enforcement programs, ensure appropriate policy and oversight is implemented, and assure supportive resources are available for officer mental health, wellness, and safety.
“It is crucial that our law enforcement officers understand that their leadership supports them in their efforts to implement the highest standards for protecting the public and will work to ensure they have the resources they need to be successful in maintaining public trust and protecting the resources under our care,” added Secretary Haaland.
In a memo to agency leadership, the Secretary directed bureau directors to identify a member to the task force by July 28, 2021. Upon review, each designee will be assigned to the work of the task force full-time, for up to 18 months.