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August 3, 2022

Biden Continues Purge of the Best Federal LEOs

A first-person account of how one Marine combat veteran is being forced out of his federal law enforcement job.

Publisher’s Note: The Patriot Post has objectively argued the merits and concerns about the ChiCom Virus pandemic vaccines and has roundly condemned vaccine mandates, which have taken a heavy toll on military ranks and recruiting – the Army now 60% short of its recruiting goal. Who wants to sign up for woke indoctrination under the inept leadership of Joe Biden as commander in chief? The good news is that there are some legal cases making their way through the courts, which may overuse Biden’s mandates – most recently a federal judge prohibiting the expulsion of Air Force personnel while their cases are progressing in the courts. Of equal concern, the ranks of civilian government employees, particularly law enforcement at all levels of government, have also taken a hit, as Biden’s mandates are forcing out some of the best and brightest and deterring others from coming on board. What follows is a first-person account of how one Marine combat veteran is being forced out of his federal law enforcement job. This account serves as a case study for thousands of other “best of the best” being purged.

I am coming forward to shed light on how the mandated purge of federal employees is not only making the country more dangerous but involves a lot of government waste and abuse.

I am or am supposed to be a Federal Wildlife Officer. I say supposed to be because I and others in my agency — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Refuge System, Division of Refuge Law Enforcement (DRLE) — aren’t allowed to do our jobs because we won’t take the COVID vaccine. Some of us have medical reasons, some have religious beliefs. All are legally recognized reasons under the law as valid and worthy of accommodations to allow us to do our jobs. Even though Executive Order 14043 enforcing the mandate for federal employees is under judicial injunction, my agency is working around that injunction by claiming that required vaccination is a “safety mitigation.” The DRLE has “determined no safety protocol other that vaccination is adequate.”

This doesn’t apply to any other employees of FWS. If you work in the visitors center where you may meet thousands of people a day, vaccination is not a prerequisite to performing your job. If you’re a firefighter, you may deploy wherever necessary regardless of vaccination status. If you are a special agent with the Office of Law Enforcement, you may train and work all over the country no matter your vaccination status.

To break it down, this means in DRLE that unvaccinated officer trainees waiting to be commissioned as officers haven’t been permitted to complete training for over 29 months (since the pandemic began) if they decline vaccination for COVID-19. Thus, over 30% of the training class from 2020 still isn’t serving in their communities 29 months later. Some have left in frustration while others are fighting to simply be allowed to do their jobs. This means there are stations operating with greatly reduced staffing for years now. Some don’t even have officers as a result. It costs about $180,000 and almost one year to train a federal wildlife officer. Almost $1M has been wasted by preventing these officers from reaching the communities they are supposed to serve.

Furthermore, this agency has decided that no unvaccinated officers can attend any in-person training or qualify on their firearms. Officers who are commissioned haven’t been allowed to qualify on firearms or other weapons in almost three years. Officers haven’t attended in-person training of any kind including CPR, drug education, legal updates, and use-of-force training in almost three years. Normally, officers are required to qualify on weapons semiannually and 40 hours of in-service training are required annually. If an unvaccinated officer works at a duty station holding training, they are told not to come into the office while the training is in progress. They are still required to patrol and conduct enforcement actions. If you are a vaccinated officer, you are required to complete all the normal training.

Unvaccinated officers are also instructed to not make proactive law enforcement measures. This means that making positive contacts with the public for assistance or to prevent a crime are restricted if you are unvaccinated. According to policy an unvaccinated officer can only contact the public in an enforcement action. This means these officers are only put into negative situations with the public. Unvaccinated officers can’t teach hunter safety classes, give classes to schools about wilderness safety, or educate visitors about laws and regulations such as visiting with hunters, anglers, hikers, or boaters to prevent violations or unsafe situations before they occur.

Now to make it real. We are a small federal law enforcement agency. There are only a couple of hundred of us nationwide. But we are in small rural towns across America. We often provide backup and assist state and local authorities since we are the closest law enforcement of any kind. At my station, we are the closest backup to multiple towns and school districts.

So, take Uvalde, Texas, for instance — federal officers and agents with Border Patrol and U.S. Marshalls were some of the closest backup and ultimately the ones who ended the threat. Now if you have an officer from FWS respond as your backup and if they are unvaccinated, they haven’t fired their weapons for qualification or attended any in-person training in three years. They haven’t received any firearms training or refreshers in tactics and scenario training. It’s not that these officers are unwilling or unable. But they are denied training opportunities because they are unvaccinated. Our agency will not even allow an unvaccinated officer to qualify on firearms at an outdoor range by themselves with no one other than an instructor present standing 20 feet away.

Do you feel safer? Does this make anyone safer?

All but two states mandate an average of 21 hours a year of in-service training. Federally we are required to complete 40 hours every year. All require annual firearms qualifications. How are officers who haven’t had refresher training in three years on the changing laws, tactics, and procedures supposed to do their jobs safely and effectively? Imagine not knowing about updated information on drugs that you may come into contact with. You can’t even attend training on overdose treatments such as Narcan. Imagine not having refreshed training on active shooter situations. Imagine not being permitted to attend even CPR training or first aid. And it’s not that your agency isn’t offering the training or even mandating it for officers. It’s that you aren’t allowed to attend the mandatory training because you have made a choice to exercise your rights to request an accommodation to forgo COVID vaccination.

This year’s wildfire season is off to a rapid start. Federal wildlife officers normally support wildfire operations providing security, assisting with evacuations, and conducting law enforcement operations on federal lands. Except now these same officers that have worked wildfires throughout the pandemic are now restricted or denied completely from working these details if they are unvaccinated. They were safe to do so until a month ago. But now even though there is a shortage of available personnel for wildfire operations, the unvaccinated officers are not “needed.”

These policies are detrimental to public safety and to the safety of these officers. They are denied training that may save their life or someone else’s. They have worked the entire pandemic when no one else in the federal government even came to work. They never stopped saving lives or risking theirs when there was little known about COVID-19 and no treatments were available. Many of these officers have already had COVID. There are officers who got it while on details in other parts of the country because DRLE decided it wasn’t safe for them to travel home to their families. But now they are outcasts. Now their careers and livelihoods are threatened. They are having to spend thousands in attorneys fees just trying to be allowed to do a job that puts them in the line of fire everyday.

The public certainly isn’t safer. I could tell dozens of stories of delayed responses to 911 calls. But one stands out. A child was bitten by a rattlesnake. I was the closest officer, but I’m not allowed to drive a marked vehicle with emergency equipment or to drive code to emergencies because I’m unvaccinated and have been denied completing my training to become commissioned. I got stuck in traffic multiple times, finally getting to the location only to see the family driving off. I tried to wave them down but they couldn’t tell who I was in an unmarked vehicle with no lights. I wound up following them back down the road until they met an officer in a marked unit that they stopped for. We had to call in an air medivac to take the child to the nearest hospital with antivenom. The child recovered but spent days in intensive care. Medical care was delayed for a child when minutes could make a life-or-death difference — all because an unvaccinated officer was the closest person.

This is unacceptable. This is not excellence in public service to all. No department has ever been made safer by not training their officers. The public is never safer when there are no officers present or available. Please help me bring awareness to this gross waste of government funds and resources and increased danger to the public’s safety and these officers’ safety.

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