National Park Police

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Malum Prohibitum, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    http://tinyurl.com/2lybv4

    American gestapo
    July 28, 2007 - 4:02am.
    Abuse of power by National Park Service police

    By DOUG THOMPSON

    The last place you expect to run into a federal government goon squad
    is the Blue Ridge Parkway, the scenic highway that runs through Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

    But the abuse of power spawned by the Bush administration and the
    rights robbing USA Patriot Act runs rampant throughout the federal bureaucracy, as I learned this week while traveling the Parkway to get to an assignment photographing a summer music festival for my newspaper.

    The festival, FloydFest, draws thousands of people each July to a picturesque patch of land just off the Parkway not far from the Blue Ridge hamlet of Floyd, VA. Now in its sixth year, the festival enjoys a national reputation. It also provides an opportunity for the National Park Service police to harass patrons of the festival.

    For the last two years, the Park Service has brought in its "CIT" (Criminal Interdiction Team) from Asheville, North Carolina, to police crowds that use the Parkway to reach the festival. The team, composed of swaggering young officers with little regard for due process or civil rights, is the embodiment of federal excess.

    As I drove towards the site Thursday, I passed two CIT Park Police officers that had pulled cars over and were forcing the occupants to pull everything out of the car so they could search coolers, back packs, luggage, glove boxes and consoles.

    I pulled off the road ahead of the second NPS patrol car, grabbed my camera and headed back to take a photo of the police action. As I approached, the Park Service officer wheeled around and pointed at me.

    "Sir, if you raise that camera to take a photograph I will place you under arrest," he barked.

    I identified myself as a working journalist on assignment and said I was simply covering a news event.

    "Sir," he retorted, "this is U.S. government property and under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act you cannot take photographs of official government activity without authorization. Put your camera down now!"

    I could not believe what I was hearing. I grew up in this part of the country and have photographed on the Blue Ridge Parkway since my days as a high school student. I asked for his badge number. He refused to reveal it.

    "Sir, you have 15 seconds to leave or you are under arrest." He had his hand on his gun so I left. Media General, our newspaper's owner, has strict rules about interaction with police. At the top of the hill, I stopped and shot some photos back towards the scene.
    At the festival, patrons told numerous horror stories about encounters that day with the Park Service Police. One young woman was pulled over because she had beads hanging from her rear view mirror. They detained her for more than an hour while they searched her car and found nothing. Another young man was stopped because he had a bolt missing from his license plate frame. When the cops found no drugs or alcohol, they ticketed him for "improper equipment."

    On Wednesday night, the CIT team pulled over a car driven by Shannon Zeman, the sheriff of Floyd County, VA. Zeman later told a Virginia State Trooper that the parkway cops were rude and abusive, even to a fellow cop.

    Calls to the Park Service police headquarters were not returned Friday. According to the National Park Service web site, park police "provides highly trained and professional police officers to prevent and detect criminal activity, conduct investigations, apprehend individuals suspected of committing offenses against Federal, State and local laws."

    Nice to know the park service cops have professionals on board. Next time, let's hope they send the pros instead of the goon squad from the Criminal Interdiction Team in Asheville.
     
  2. legacy38

    legacy38 Active Member

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    I doubt the validity of the story based on the title. Abject comparisons like that a sure sign of dribble ahead. Couple that with my personal experiences with NPS Police (without them knowing I was an officer), I find it to be strictly out of character of what I know of the agency.
     

  3. Tinkerhell

    Tinkerhell Active Member

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    It's from the media so I take it with a grain of salt, however if this is accurate

    I tend to agree with the title.
    There is no reason that any sort of traffic stop should not be open for documentation either photo, video, audio or any combination. I know you don't mind that sort of thing legacy as you've said it yourself.

    Now if that's true or not I have no clue. 'fraid I've not read through all the provisions of the PA :roll:
     
  4. legacy38

    legacy38 Active Member

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    I'm doubting the entire validity of the "article".
     
  5. CoolHand

    CoolHand Active Member

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    I've met/seen a lot of NPS officers. The last 2 times I went to Washington DC there were hordes of them around the monuments and the Mall. All but 2 were very polite, tactful, and professional.

    The first exception in DC was being a real jerk to some other people at the Lincoln Memorial.

    The other guy was in Colorado. He gave our group of riders on the Buena Vista Fall Colors ATV Tour the distinct impression he didn't like ATVs and was looking for any excuse to screw with(i.e. ticket) anyone riding one. He stopped our guided group on a designated ORV trail and proceeded to nitpick everybody and their ATVs for possible violations. He was a rude ass to everyone. Our guide later told us the guy was a rabid environmentalist type and known for that type of behavior.
     
  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Photographing cops

    I think all aspects of police work that are not undercover should be open for viewing, photographing, and video surveillance by citizens. Anybody walking down the street who happens to come across a raid, take-down, felony traffic stop, chase, etc. ought to be able to whip out their camcorder and document it.

    I have done this before. Sometimes the police don't mind, sometimes they do, and sometimes they're too busy to notice.

    Police should not be subject to questioning by disinterested citizens not a party to the action, but they should all wear their badge numbers in BIG LETTERS so that they can be identified later. Just as Georgia has a law that mandates how large the letters must be marking a police car, there should be a law mandating badge numbers be in large print, high-visibility or contrasting colors, such that an ordinary camera photo can pick it up from a certain distance away.

    Increasingly, police are operating anonymously, without name tags, badge numbers, and in the case of SWAT members, with hoods and masks on. I realize that there are tactical benefits to having your face covered (it protects you to some extent), but it also conceals your identity, which is a BIG problem to me.

    Law enforcement advocates say that cops often get death threats, so they need to be able to do their job anonymously for their safety. I say that as more and more of them get to work anonymously, the more bad things will happen unnecessarily between them and various civilians, causing more tension and a general distrust / hatred for law enforcement. Then we will be headed toward civil unrest or anarchy. THEN they will really be in danger, but they will have helped bring it about. (This is how things have progressed in Iraq, and why cops and soldiers there are routinely ambushed and kidnapped).
     
  7. gsusnake

    gsusnake Token Liberal Hippie

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    Re: Photographing cops

    Isn't this the same argument that is behind the LEOSA?

    I don't have any problem with the police being able to carry wherever they go (with a few limitations) as they do tend to make "enemies" more readily than we common folk, but are we going to use that to excuse everything?
     
  8. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Ought to be enough at the link to check it out.
     
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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  10. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    From the comments section:
     
  11. legacy38

    legacy38 Active Member

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    Not every agency has "badge numbers". We don't use them. We each have a radio designation that changes with promotions and/or assignments. I know of quite a few that use similar systems.
     
  12. merlock

    merlock New Member

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    How would you positively identify yourself to a civilian if asked?
     
  13. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

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    I'm guessing they have a little pin with a plaque that has their last name on it. Just above the badge, usually.
     
  14. legacy38

    legacy38 Active Member

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    My parents gave me a name. :wink:
     
  15. legacy38

    legacy38 Active Member

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    As for filming/taking pictures, unless I'm in a "tactical" situation where I don't want my position drawing attention or somehow going live on TV, have at it. Be forewarned that most of the footage is going to be pretty boring.
     
  16. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    legacyatdunkindonuts.jpg
    legacyinhiscar.jpg
    legacypickinghisnose.jpg
    legacygoingintoastripclub.jpg
    legacytakinganap.jpg

    Does that sound like a normal day to you? ;)
     
  17. gsusnake

    gsusnake Token Liberal Hippie

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    Sounds like a pretty damn good day to me.
     
  18. tony218

    tony218 New Member

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    i second that.
     
  19. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    :rotfl: What? You would use that? :lol: