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KILLER_CLOWN
12-11-2007, 04:33 PM
Why Has the U.S. Forest Service Purchased $600,000 Worth of Tasers?

Ann Shibler
JBS
Tuesday December 11, 2007

Already in debt and understaffed, the U.S. Forest Service just spent $600,000 in purchasing handheld Tasers for every member of its Law Enforcement division.

Near the end of the U.S. Forest Service's fiscal year in September, there was a hurried single-source purchase of 700 Tasers for the Law Enforcement and Investigations division of the U.S. Forest Service. The Tasers are now sitting in storage, as there were no rules governing their use or a required training program yet developed by the USFS.

In fact, there was no public input, or congressional review of the purchase. There wasn't even a written explanation as to why the devices were needed. There was a very brief justification statement that really only described the item for purchase.

Jeff Ruch of the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) did request and receive, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), records relating to the amount the Forest Service paid for the devices ($600,001.52 — $857 apiece), and the justification statement, but not any information that described the training that would have to be provided to agency personnel who will use the electronic Tasers. USFS director John Twiss issued a statement: "In the interest of customer service, we can tell you that the Forest Service is currently developing the required training and law enforcement officers will be required to attend prior to the issuance of, or authorization to carry or use, an Electronic Control Device."

With the devastating forest fires of the past summer, one would think that director Twiss would have more important matters to address than the purchase of what we now know to be lethal weapons. The agency is presently a quarter of a billion dollars in debt and has 200 vacant positions, some lost to budget cuts and more to agents who have been reassigned to other obligations such as border patrol for the Department of Homeland Security. The USFS has over 750,000 million annual visitors and that leaves one officer overseeing approximately 1.5 million visitors and covering 300,000 acres of forest, and even more budget cuts are looming.

PEER, in 2005, released information on director John Twiss, claiming he is the first person without any law enforcement qualifications or credentials to head the USFS — he's a civilian with desk experience and nothing more. In the early 1990s, Congress mandated that the Forest Service law enforcement division be independent of the agency chain-of-command, in order to ensure fair and independent investigations and internal probes. But Twiss signaled that he would see an end to such independency, and according to Ruch would see to it, "that all future Forest Service investigations will be politically vetted."

Lethal Tasers in the hands of untrained federal agents, compounded by the bureaucratic management style of the present director, with the accompanying potential for serious abuse certainly doesn’t bode well for park visitors.

Jeff Ruch of PEER said it best when he opined, "As a result, in addition to the howl of the coyote and the hoot of the owl, the plaintive cry of "Don't tase me, bro!' may soon echo through the forest night."

http://www.jbs.org/node/6615

Jenson71
12-11-2007, 04:35 PM
The USFS has over 750,000 million annual visitors and that leaves one officer overseeing...

Whoa!! :eek:

chagrin
12-11-2007, 04:41 PM
Awesome, I hope they have the addresses of irishjayhawk, jAZ, meme, tj and the rest of the freaks; I'm sure they do since the Government is out to get them, this is awesome!

Nightwish
12-11-2007, 04:46 PM
This should help out the Forest Service tremendously. I hear there is a bad Treant problem!

Taco John
12-11-2007, 04:47 PM
Them backpackers give a lot of lip out there...

Jenson71
12-11-2007, 04:49 PM
There's a new "Taser Shooting" merit badge for Boy Scouts. The parks must be stocking up for summer camp.

Taco John
12-11-2007, 04:52 PM
Awesome, I hope they have the addresses of irishjayhawk, jAZ, meme, tj and the rest of the freaks; I'm sure they do since the Government is out to get them, this is awesome!



Aside from protecting our civil liberties, I find it appropriate for conservatives to be concerned with wasteful spending. I realize that a political neophyte such as yourself attempts to engage in politics from a personality driven perspective. Forgive those of us who engage it from the perspective of principle. I'm a relic, I know.

Hydrae
12-11-2007, 06:17 PM
Any bets that they wanted to use the rest of the money in the budget before the end of the fiscal year? Most business entities do the same kind of thing (well, not purchase Taser's but use the rest of the budget). It helps justify the following year's budget/