A recent report which revealed weapons-carrying EPA agents has led officials to showcase at least 70 other federal agencies with armed workers. Approximately 40 of those federal agencies have armed divisions despite no solid association with law enforcement.
According to a Justice Department report more than 120,000 full-time officers are now authorized to carry guns and make arrests.
While many of those workers are directly associated with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, others work for the Library of Congress and Federal Reserve Board, among others.
In the case of the Environmental Protection Agency armed agents in full body armor participated in raid operations in Alaska. The heavily armed raid was government issued because of clean water act violations.
Speaking to the Alaska Dispatch gold miner C.R. Hammond revealed:
“Imagine coming up to your diggings, only to see agents swarming over it like ants, wearing full body armor, with jackets that say “POLICE” emblazoned on them, and all packing side arms.”
Other agencies participating in the Alaska operation included the FBI, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Park Service.
Those agencies and others are responsible for employing more than 250 full-time armed officers with full arrest authority.
The Federal report cites 16 agencies with armed support including the Library of Congress, the Federal Reserve Board, and the National Institutes of Health.
There are 73 agencies with armed personnel in the report when the 33 offices of inspector general are also counted.
Some agencies make sense, such as the EPA which does sometimes engage with potentially dangerous elements. However, the Library of Congress and other agencies have been somewhat of a head scratcher.
Fox News tells the story of North Carolina resident Larry Kelly who was eventually questioned by armed EPA agents after he said his goal was to “crucify” big oil and gas executives. Keller explains:
“The charter of the EPA is to protect the environment and public, not to act as a quasi federal police department.”
While the number of armed federal employees has increased more than half are still employed by the Department of Homeland Security.
Do you think government agencies not associated with crime-fighting should use armed agents?