The United States Park Police is a unit of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Capitol Region, with jurisdiction in all National Park Service areas and certain other Federal/State lands. The history of the Park Police predates both the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Created in 1791 by our first president, George Washington, the U. S. Park Police have been on duty in our Federal parks for more than 200 years.
Originally, the authority of the "Park Watchmen", as they were known, was restricted to Federal property in the District of Columbia. In 1882, the Park Watchmen were given the same "powers and duties" as the Metropolitan Police in the District. Since then, the duties of the U. S. Park Police have been synonymous with that of an urban police department.
The expansion of police authority and responsibility of the U. S. Park Police outside the District of Columbia began in 1929 with the assignment of officers to the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The U. S. Park Police have responsibilities for providing law enforcement services within the District of Columbia as well as other Federal reservations, in the Washington metropolitan area, New York and San Francisco, They are also frequently requested to provide protection for dignitaries, such as the President of the United States and visiting foreign heads of state, and assistance to other areas of the National Park Service and other law enforcement agencies during law enforcement emergencies.
Initial appointments are made to the Washington metropolitan area where the largest contingent of officers is located. Officers may be reassigned to the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City or to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the city of San Francisco, California. Officers may also be detailed to duty in any area of the National Park Service.
Each Officer of the U. S. Park police is charged with the responsibility of providing law enforcement services which includes the investigation and detention of persons suspected of committing offenses against the United States. Additionally, law enforcement services are provided for the many notable civic events conducted within the National Park Service.
Last updated - 03/03/06 03:28 PM, vej, slb