NPS Canceled Furloughs for U.S. Park Police
The remaining furlough days for U.S. Park Police employees have been canceled. The National Park Service (NPS) made the announcement Friday (May 24), before the start of the Memorial Day weekend.
The 641 sworn officers patrol national parkland and monuments in the Washington area, New York City and San Francisco.
The furloughs will officially end June 1, according to a memo from NPS, Federal News Radio, Washington, D.C., reported.
"As a result of cost-cutting measures implemented earlier this year, and now armed with seven months of actual costs — versus projections — we are able to reduce the furlough to the three days already taken," Jonathan Jarvis, director of NPS, said in a statement. The U.S. Park Police is a division of the National Park Service.
The cost-cutting measures mentioned by Jarvis include limits placed on overtime and travel, canceling the organization's new recruiting class, and restricting use of park police helicopters to emergencies only.
"This is good news for our employees, good news for our visitors as we start the summer season this Memorial Day Weekend, and good news for the security of our nation's icons — the places that the dedicated men and women of the U.S. Park Police protect every day," Jarvis said about the cancelation of the furloughs.
However, Jarvis warned more furloughs could be needed in years to come if sequestration continues.
"We will have to continue to make tough decisions with our limited resources and reevaluate additional cuts and furloughs to our parks and employees," Jarvis said.
Ian Glick, chairman of the Park Police's Fraternal Order of Police, called the news "encouraging," but said other issues within the agency also need to be addressed.
"It is important to point out that the agency is still understaffed, poorly funded and lacks financial control of its own operations," Glick said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to bring public and congressional attention to the needs of our membership in protecting the public, as well as our historical and natural resources."
News of the canceled furloughs came the same day 115,000 other federal employees from at least six different agencies were forced to take unpaid leave due to sequestration.