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Two articles:

Already in debt and understaffed, the U.S. Forest Service just spent $600,000 in purchasing handheld Tasers for every member of its Law Enforcement division. The U.S. Forest Service has bought $600,000 worth of “Electronic Control Devices” without any training program, rules for use or even a written explanation as to why the devices are needed, according to agency records posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The devices, known as Tasers, are sitting in storage and cannot be issued because the agency has yet to develop a training course.

Due to an intense fire season, the Forest Service is now staggering under a more than a quarter-billion dollar deficit, causing it to begin jettisoning core programs. For example, the agency lacks enough funds to draw up new timber sales. At the same time, the Forest Service law enforcement program is hobbled by more than 200 vacant positions, leaving only one officer to cover each 300,000 acres of National Forest and 750,000 annual million visitors.

In late September 2007, the Forest Service purchased 700 weapons and “related accessories” from Aardvark Tactical, Inc. of Azusa, California, a subsidiary of Taser International, at a cost to taxpayers of $600,001.52, according to agency records obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act. This represents enough to equip every single Forest Service special agent and law enforcement officer with an Electronic Control system at a cost of $857 apiece.

PEER, in 2005, released information on director John Twiss, claiming he is the first person without any law enforcement qualifications or credentials to head the USFS — he's a civilian with desk experience and nothing more. In the early 1990s, Congress mandated that the Forest Service law enforcement division be independent of the agency chain-of-command, in order to ensure fair and independent investigations and internal probes. But Twiss signaled that he would see an end to such independency, and according to Ruch would see to it, "that all future Forest Service investigations will be politically vetted."

Lethal Tasers in the hands of untrained federal agents, compounded by the bureaucratic management style of the present director, with the accompanying potential for serious abuse certainly doesn’t bode well for park visitors.

Jeff Ruch of PEER said it best when he opined, "As a result, in addition to the howl of the coyote and the hoot of the owl, the plaintive cry of "Don't tase me, bro!' may soon echo through the forest night."


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
WTF!?!?! And didn't I just read a news story about a week ago about either the UN or Amnesty International or some other body like that ruling that Tazers are inhumane? In fact, I think the word they used to describe them was something worse than that. Huh - gotta go find that news story.

Dec. 11th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is alarming. I want to know who is this guy: John Twiss. Is he a Shrub installation?
Dec. 11th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
See here (Twiss appointed by Bosworth in 2005):

And here (info on Bosworth appointed in 2001):

Dec. 11th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
OK, that explains it
So they got Bosworth in who seemed good after the Clinton era but then turned around to participate in the gutting of the roadless rule. In turn Bosworth brings in another of the Shrubite "faithful" and they proceed to do whatever they want with a federal agency. Who knows what the rangers in our national forests may be asked to do? Just goes to show how much inside people matter.
Dec. 11th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
A-ha! Here's the story. They call it TORTURE. Yep, that's right. Torture. Yet the US continues to use them, buy them, promote their use. And now the Forest Service???

Anyway - here's a news story link:
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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