Despite Extra Help, Park Police Officers Poised to Work 12+ Hour Days

By Jackie Bensen
|  Thursday, Jul 3, 2014  |  Updated 6:56 AM EDT
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Though officers from surrounding jurisdictions will lend their hands to D.C. this weekend during Independence Day celebrations, union officials estimate U.S. Park Police officers will be working several hours of overtime during sweltering heat. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

Jackie Bensen

Though officers from surrounding jurisdictions will lend their hands to D.C. this weekend during Independence Day celebrations, union officials estimate U.S. Park Police officers will be working several hours of overtime during sweltering heat. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

Though officers from surrounding jurisdictions will lend their hands to D.C. this weekend during Independence Day celebrations, union officials estimate U.S. Park Police officers will be working several hours of overtime during sweltering heat.

According to Ian Glick with the Park Police Labor Union, despite the extra officers, his agency will be stretched thin.

"The vast majority of our officers will be working 12, 14, 16 and in some cases 18-hour days... in hot weather, on foot, with little opportunity for respite," Glick said.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said the "borrowing" of officers to help staff shouldn't be necessary and could put suburban areas at risk.

"I'm tired of the U.S. Park Police being treated like a second class police department," she said. "These are the police we depend upon for major events, so I don't understand why in 2011 they had over 650 cops and now they're down to about 600."

Norton said her staff is trying to verify how understaffed Park Police is. Glick said the estimated number is between 10 and 20 percent.

"The Park Police have done a phenomenal job of stepping up to the plate and more often than not, hitting a home run," he explained. "Unfortunately this is happening more and more as our numbers as an agency get smaller and smaller and the expectation out of us becomes greater and greater."

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