The U.S. Park Police is failing to adequately keep track of its firearms, creating an environment in which weapons are vulnerable to theft or misuse, according to a government report.
Due to "a lackadaisical attitude toward firearms management" by commanders, investigators said they found "credible evidence of conditions that would allow for theft and misuse of firearms, and the ability to conceal the fact if weapons were missing."
In a force of approximately 640 officers, the report says, hundreds of weapons were not properly accounted for. The auditors also allege that the agency has more than 1,400 extra weapons, including 477 military-style automatic and semiautomatic rifles.
The National Park Service declined to respond, but it said it has immediately ordered a complete weapons inventory, to address the "significant, systemic firearms management problems" identified in the report.
"I have no tolerance for this management failure," said Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. He pledged to implement the report's recommendations on record-keeping, and went on to praise the police officers. "The brave men and women of the U.S. Park Police are professionals who put their life on the line every day," he said, "protecting our parks for millions to enjoy."