Federal Employees Increasingly Under Attack on Public Lands

A National Park ranger stands near a giant U.S. flag over the processional route before a memorial service for Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson on Jan. 10, 2012. A National Park ranger stands near a giant U.S. flag over the processional route before a memorial service for Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson on Jan. 10, 2012. Elaine Thompson/AP

Federal employees working in the country’s outdoor areas were victims of more violent attacks in 2012 than in previous years, according to a report by an advocacy group.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit alliance of government officials and environmental advocates, cited a number of factors for the increase, including drug trafficking on federal lands and alcohol abuse.

Of the six federal agencies that reported 313 violent incidents in 2012, the U.S. Park Police saw the sharpest year-on-year increase in incidents, which were up 42.9 percent to 100 reports. Other agencies experiencing an increase in attacks on their employees included the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Park Service.

“Unfortunately, violence and abuse directed against public servants is becoming more common,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said in a statement. “The saying ‘it’s not easy being green’ is becoming truer with each passing year.”

PEER compiled the report from data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests to several federal agencies. Ruch told Government Executive that PEER counted incidences that were marked by federal officials with several keywords, including ‘threats,’ ‘intimidation,’ ‘assault’ and ‘terrorism.’

Examples of attacks include the shooting of a park ranger in January 2012, an attempt to run a Park Police officer over and various threats issued against federal workers.  

An Interior Department spokesman told Government Executive that officials would review the report fully. The department is “committed to providing a safe and sustainable work environment for all employees as well as an enjoyable and safe experience for visitors to our public lands,” he said.

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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