(WASHINGTON)-Declaring that the Federal Protective Service is an “agency in crisis”, the president of the FPS union of the American Federation of Government Employees made an impassioned appeal for additional resources and manpower to enable the agency to carry out its critical mission.
“The Federal Protective Service faces daunting challenges and its officers and inspectors have been shocked and dismayed by the recent GAO reports and vulnerabilities that still exist” said David Wright at a hearing on FPS reform before the House Homeland Security Committee today. Stating that FPS “still has significantly less boots on the ground when it joined DHS”, Wright asked the Committee for its support of additional resources and assistance in making sure those funds make it to the agency.
“We need your help to make sure the embedded, intransigent and unaccountable bureaucrats at OMB cooperate to provide the minimum resources necessary to accomplish our mission” he said.
In addition, Wright told the Committee that FPS reform legislation must include the in-sourcing of private security guards at the highest security buildings protected by FPS.
“In 2001, there were 5,000 contract guards and FPS was authorized more than 1,450 total personnel. By 2009, there were 15,000 contract guards, but FPS was authorized only 1,225 total personnel. A three-fold increase in guards coupled with a 16 percent cut in FPS staff was a recipe for failure” Wright said.
Wright added that “the state of the FPS right now is little different from that of the airline industry security prior to 9/11. When America demanded professional security at airports, Congress and the administration responded by hiring some 40,000 federal officers to staff the Transportation Security Administration. It is long past time to do the same thing at FPS.”
Wright also expressed concern about security at the upcoming terrorism trials to be held in New York City. “The khalid Sheikh Muhammad trial at the New York federal courthouse presents a security risk that FPS is ill-equipped to handle without leaving other secure buildings in the country unprotected.”