Attacks on staff reach an all time high

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Incidents more than triple in national parks

By Special to the Monitor

WASHINGTON, DC — Attacks and threats against U.S. Forest Service employees and National Park Service rangers reached an all-time record in 2009, according to agency incident reports released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). This spike in violent incidents reflects growing danger to both staff and visitors on federal lands

Agency incident reports, obtained by PEER through the Freedom of Information Act, document increasing lawlessness in remote public lands where people go to get away from urban ills:

•The National Park Service (NPS) recorded 158 attacks or threats on its law enforcement rangers, more than triple the 36 such incidents it reported for 2008 and nearly 50 percent above its previous record year of 2004. These numbers are understated, however, as the agency only records assaults against its law enforcement staff and not those directed against other workers and these numbers do not include assaults on the U.S. Park Police, an urban police force largely based in D.C.;

•The U.S. Forest Service logged 427 violent incidents in 2009, a

33 percent jump from the year before and the greatest number ever recorded. This is also the fourth straight annual increase; and

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