UNITED STATES PARK POLICE AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION
The United States Park Police is America's oldest Federal uniformed law enforcement agency with origins dating to the establishment of the seat of government in the District of Columbia. In 1791, President George Washington called for "Park Watchmen" to be provided by the United States Government for services in and around the public squares and reservations in the new Federal city. They were given "the same powers and duties as the Metropolitan Police" in the District (August 5, 1882, 22 Stat 243, chapter 389). In 1919, Congress renamed the Park Watchmen "United States Park Police" (December 5, 1919, 41 Stat. 364, chapter 1, section 3).
The jurisdiction was expanded beyond the District of Columbia to include the newly constructed Mount Vernon Highway (May 23, 1928 45 Stat. 721) and the George Washington Memorial Highway (May 29, 1930 46 Stat. 482). Jurisdiction was further expanded by the Act of March 17, 1948 (62 Stat. 81) which provided "that on and within the roads, parkways, and other Federal reservations in the environs of the District of Columbia over which the United States has, or shall hereafter acquire, exclusive or concurrent criminal jurisdiction, the several members of the United States Park Police shall have the power and authority to make arrests.(for). violation of any Federal law or regulations issued pursuant to law." The environs of the District of Columbia were defined as embracing the Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford Counties and the City of Alexandria in Virginia, and Prince George's, Charles, Anne Arundel, and Montgomery Counties in Maryland.
In 1976, Title 16, of the United States Code was amended (P.L. 94-458, Oct 7, 1976, 90 Stat. 1939) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to designate "certain officers or employees of the Department of the Interior who shall maintain law and order and protect persons and property within areas of the National Park System", clarifying authority of the United States Park Police in the newly established Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City and Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco.
This page last updated - 03/03/06, vej