SANTA FE, N.M. — In late February, four federal agents carrying side arms with a drug-sniffing dog descended on the Taos Ski Valley in what was called a “saturation patrol.”
Authorities were working on tips of possible drug selling and impaired driving in the ski resort’s parking lot and surrounding area.
But the agents weren’t from the FBI, ATF or even the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Rather, the agents represented the U.S. Forest Service. …
[A] slew of federal agencies — some whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating crime — carry active law enforcement operations.
Here’s a partial list:
- The U.S. Department of Education
- The Bureau of Land Management (200 uniformed law enforcement rangers and 70 special agents)
- The U.S. Department of the Interior
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (with an armed uniformed division of 1.000)
- The National Park Service (made up of NPS protection park rangers and U.S. Park Police officers that operate independently)
- The Environmental Protection Agency (200 special agents)
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (224 special agents)
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
It’s been estimated the U.S. has some 25,000 sworn law enforcement officers in departments not traditionally associated with fighting crime. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and in a tabulation compiled by the Wall Street Journal in 2011, 3,812 criminal investigators are working in areas other than the U.S. departments of Treasury, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security.