[Electronic copy. Signed original on file in Office of Policy]
DIRECTOR'S ORDER #9: LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM
Duration: Until Amended or Terminated
Director's Order #9 (DO-9), in conjunction with Reference Manual #9 (RM-9) and United States Park Police (USPP) General Orders, establishes and defines general standards, policies, and procedures for all law enforcement functions within the National Park Service (NPS). This DO supplements section 8.3 of Management Policies 2006. DO-9, Release No. 1, March 2000, is hereby superseded and replaced.
1. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The NPS Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1-4), establishing the National Park Service, directs the NPS to:
In support of the NPS mission, law enforcement serves the public interest to protect resources and people, prevent crime, conduct investigations, apprehend criminals, and serve the needs of the visitors. To help in accomplishing this mission, the NPS employs two law enforcement branches: (1) United States Park Ranger (USPR) and Special Agent (SA), and (2) the United States Park Police (USPP). This Director's Order applies to all commissioned law enforcement employees of the NPS.
Authority to issue this Director's Order is contained in the NPS Organic Act and in delegations of authority found in Part 245 of the DOI Manual (DM). Reference Manual (RM) 9 will address law enforcement topics in greater detail for USPRs and SAs, and will be issued by the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection. General Orders will address law enforcement topics in greater detail for the USPP and will be issued by the Chief, U.S. Park Police. Both of these level 3 documents will be prepared in close consultation with the Office of the Solicitor.
2.1 Authority to carry out law enforcement duties-- is found in law including the General Authorities Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 1a-6(b)), which under 41 Fed. Reg. 44876 (1976) has been delegated to NPS employees who possess specific law enforcement certification (Type I and II Law Enforcement Commissions) and USPP Officers. Such employees and officers may:
2.2 Law Enforcement Authority
Inside Park Boundaries: Within national park system boundaries,
the Service will fulfill its law enforcement responsibilities using NPS
employees. However, the NPS is authorized by 16 U.S.C. 1a- 6(c) to appoint
(deputize) another agency's qualified law enforcement personnel as special
police when it will benefit the administration of a park area. Deputations
may be issued only for the purpose of obtaining supplemental law enforcement
assistance when deemed economical and in the public interest, and with
the concurrence of the other agency. Deputations may not be used to delegate
NPS law enforcement responsibilities to state or local governments. All
such appointments must be approved by the bureau director of law enforcement
or his/her designee, and supported by a written agreement with the other
agency at the park or national level, except when there is insufficient
time because of an emergency law enforcement situation.
Outside Park Boundaries: The Service is also authorized
to use appropriated funds for "Rendering of emergency rescue, fire fighting,
and [other] cooperative assistance to nearby law enforcement and fire
prevention agencies and for related purposes outside of the National Park
System"(16 U.S.C. 1b(1)). Further, insofar as 16 U.S.C. 1b(1) does not
confer arrest authority to NPS personnel who act outside park boundaries,
State arrest authority is first needed before NPS personnel can enforce
State law or engage in law enforcement activity outside national park
This authority will be used in emergency situations, only after first
determining that such actions will facilitate the administration of the
park or be an effective management tool for obtaining mutual assistance
from other agencies. Furthermore, the authority is intended for use only
in response to an unexpected occurrence that requires immediate action,
which may include one or more of the following:
The Service may not assume law enforcement responsibility outside of
park boundaries (except in two exceptions relating to the USPP who
under the District of Columbia Code5-201 (2001) have the same police powers
as the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia and were given
police authorities under the District of Columbia Code 5-206 (2001) enabling
them to act as police officers on all Federal reservations in nine counties
and one city adjacent to the District of Columbia) in lieu of the
legitimate responsibilities of nearby agencies. Cooperative assistance
rendered to nearby law enforcement agencies outside of park boundaries
should be limited to only those actions or efforts that support
or assist those agencies.
3. ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Director of the NPS will ensure that a viable law enforcement program exists within the NPS. The responsibility to manage the NPS law enforcement program will be entrusted to the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection, and to the Chief, United States Park Police, each having been designated as a "Bureau Director of Law Enforcement." The Associate Director will represent the interests of the U.S. Park Rangers and Special Agents. The Chief will represent the interests of the U.S. Park Police. The incumbent of these positions will be responsible for providing mission-oriented policy, procedures, and standards, and providing effective review, oversight and inspection of the NPS law enforcement program.
Congress has authorized the designation of certain employees as law enforcement officers, with the responsibility to "… maintain law and order and protect persons and property within areas of the National Park System" (16 U.S.C. 1a 6(b)). Only employees who meet the standards prescribed by, and who are designated by, the Secretary of the Interior may perform law enforcement duties. The duties of these commissioned employees will not be limited to just law enforcement; they will also continue to incorporate a diversity of other protection concerns, as stipulated in House Report No. 94-1569.
The authority and responsibility to manage the US Park Police flow from the Director to the Chief of the USPP. The authority and responsibility to manage the NPS Commissioned Park Ranger program flow from the Director to the Regional Director(s), to park superintendent(s). Park superintendents are responsible and accountable for the management of the law enforcement program within their respective area. The NPS Special Agent program is managed by the Special Agent In Charge (SAC) in the Division of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services. This authority flows from the Director to the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection, to the Division Chief, Law Enforcement and Emergency Services, to the SAC.
4. POLICIES AND STANDARDS
4.1 The Department of the Interior Law Enforcement Handbook
4.2 National Park Service Management Policies 8.3.1, Law Enforcement
The NPS law enforcement program will be managed and supervised in accordance
with all applicable laws and regulations; Part 446 of the Department of
the Interior Manual; NPS Management Policies, DO-9 and RM-9, and the USPP
General Orders, as appropriate.
4.3 The Context for Law Enforcement
Park law enforcement activities will be managed to protect resources,
manage public use and promote public safety and visitor enjoyment. This
is in keeping with guidance provided by Congress in 1976 when it amended
the General Authorities Act (16 USC 1a-3):
The term "jurisdiction" defines the sphere of authority and outlines
the boundaries or territorial limits within which any particular authority
(federal or state) may be exercised. Jurisdiction may be either "exclusive,"
"partial," "concurrent," or "proprietary." Insofar as is practicable,
the Service will seek to acquire concurrent legislative jurisdiction for
all units of the national park system, as required by the 1976 amendment
to the General Authorities Act, 16 U.S.C. 1a-3 (see RM-9).
4.5 Use of Force
Commissioned employees may use a wide variety of defensive equipment
and force options in response to various threats and other enforcement
situations. The primary consideration is the timely and effective application
of the appropriate level of force required to establish and maintain lawful
control. The only justifications for the use of force are:
Commissioned employees may use deadly force only when necessary; i.e.
when the ranger, special agent or USPP officer has an objectively reasonable
belief, in light of the facts and circumstances confronting the ranger,
agent or officer, that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger
of death or serious physical injury to the ranger, agent or officer, or
to another person. If force other than deadly force reasonably appears
to be sufficient to accomplish an arrest or otherwise accomplish the law
enforcement purpose, that is the preferred level of force. In no instance
shall deadly force be utilized unless such use is objectively reasonable
under the circumstances. "Deadly force" is the use of any force that is
likely to cause death or serious physical injury. Deadly force does not
include force that is not likely to cause death or serious physical injury,
but unexpectedly results in such death or injury.
4.6 Community Relations and Outreach
The NPS will provide information to the public and the news media in
accordance with applicable laws, Departmental policy, and Director's Order
#75A, Civic Engagement and Public Involvement (www.nps.gov/policy/DOrders/75A.htm).
The appropriate bureau director of law enforcement should identify appropriate
opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement by (1) publicizing
arrests, weapons seizures and successful prosecutions for the purpose
of deterrence; (2) emphasizing cooperation and assistance activities such
as Park Watch; and (3) assisting in public education and awareness about
the full range of threats to and the challenges of protecting park resources.
4.7 Technologically-assisted Law Enforcement-related Physical
The NPS may use technologically-assisted physical surveillance, including
the use of tracking, illumination, telescopic, detection, video and other
technology-dependent devices, to aid legitimate and lawful law enforcement
surveillance activities if it is consistent with the Constitution and
4.8 Investigation of Commissioned Employee Misconduct
The National Park Service is committed to maintaining the integrity of
its employees and is dedicated to upholding the trust of the public it
serves. To preserve that integrity and trust, the NPS investigates complaints
against our employees. Criminal and administrative complaints against
law enforcement commissioned personnel will be coordinated through the
Bureau's internal investigative program or other entity as required by
law or regulation.
5. Third-Party Enforceability
This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the
NPS and it is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit,
substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against
the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities,
its officers or employees, or any other person.
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