(WASHINGTON)--On the 15th anniversary of the devastating bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, we are reminded that that federal buildings and federal employees are potential targets of terrorism and crime, and that the Federal Protective Service must be a fully-funded and fully-federalized agency, American Federation of Government Employees Local 918 President David Wright said today.
“It is a travesty that the main federal agency, whose mission it is to protect those very facilities and people, is unable to accomplish its mission, due in part to a largely contract guard workforce,” Wright said.
The Federal Protective Service has been cited in at least six GAO reports over the past two years as an agency in disarray. Its contract guards lack Federal authority as they are commissioned by local and state authorities. In addition, the private contract guards are underpaid, undertrained and under-monitored, said AFGE
“FPS manpower has been reduced to levels so low that there were more law enforcement personnel before the Oklahoma City bombing,” Wright said. “It further suffered from a policy of benign neglect by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—the agency until recently charged with overseeing FPS operations.
“FPS treatment by ICE forced the first internal reorganization since DHS was stood up. The transfer of FPS in October 2009 to the National Protection and Programs Directorate was critically important,” Wright added. “This is one measure of how far this agency needs to go before it can fully perform its mission.”
Both the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Committee on Government Reform have held numerous hearings on the failings of FPS to perform its mission. Work is underway on both sides of Congress to introduce FPS reform legislation this year.
“There is a real urgency to congressional action on this issue. Recent attacks on federal employees and serious threats to Members of Congress should be as much a reminder of the need to reform FPS as is this, the 15th anniversary of the attack in Oklahoma City,” Wright said.
AFGE Local 918 represents FPS officers and personnel nationwide.
Others Remember the Oklahoma City Bombing: