Employees report to work despite standoff in downtown Washington

Employees in federal buildings located near the National Mall in Washington went to work Tuesday despite a standoff between law enforcement officers and a man who drove a tractor into a shallow pool near the Vietnam Memorial.

On Monday, a North Carolina tobacco farmer, identified as Dwight Watson, 50, drove a tractor emblazoned with slogans supporting veterans and the military, into a pond in Constitution Gardens, just east of the Vietnam Memorial and between the Reflecting Pool and Constitution Avenue. Law enforcement officers are not sure of his motives, but believe he may be carrying explosives.

The National Academy of Sciences, Federal Reserve Board and the South Annex of the Interior Department remained open to essential employees on Tuesday, after the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management gave the agencies the option to close until the confrontation ended. Nonessential employees were not required to report to work.

South-facing offices in the first wing of the Interior Department's main building were closed except to essential employees because they look out on the standoff, according to spokesman Frank Quimby. No mail was delivered to the main Interior building on Tuesday, Quimby added.

The State Department, most of the main Interior Department building and OPM were open to all employees, but workers had to come by foot because cars weren't allowed near the buildings, according to an OPM statement. Employees who were unable to get to work without driving, or who were delayed by the traffic congestion resulting from the incident, were allowed to take unscheduled leave.

Though the incident caused some confusion with respect to parking and access to buildings, it did not cause too much disruption at federal facilities overall, according to spokesmen at the affected agencies.

Local law enforcement officers, in conjunction with the FBI, are handling the situation appropriately, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said during a briefing about his department's efforts to protect the United States against possible terrorist strikes in retaliation for the likely war with Iraq.

Police closed several main roads to secure the perimeter around the pool, causing traffic jams. Constitution Avenue was closed from 15th to 23rd Streets, N.W., and the area south of E Street between 17th and 23rd streets N.W. was also closed.

Employees at the affected federal buildings should call their human resources departments for further information and updates on when they should to return to the office, according to OPM.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.