Friday, March 14, 2014

PEER spokesman calls for the dismissal of Forest Service LEI Director Ferrell

I've previously covered this issue here, here and here.

This is from an article by Andrew Oxford in Thursday's Taos News where Jeff Ruch of PEER calls for the dismissal of David Ferrell:

...Lucero’s communiqué was directly contradicted in a March 4 email from the agency’s deputy director of law enforcement and investigations. The message from Tracy Perry called on patrol commanders to ensure “no quotas are being developed” that would require officers to issue certain numbers of violation notices or other citations. Ruch described the email as “a classic cover-your-ass maneuver,” noting Perry’s communiqué was sent to Forest Service law enforcement officers mere days after the agency began to receive criticism for its saturation patrol in Taos Ski Valley. “He’s maintaining there aren’t quotas and to ignore the ones that exist,” Ruch told The Taos News, arguing Perry’s email demonstrated “the garbled message” that informs the work of Forest Service officers. The agency’s law enforcement personnel have lamented the pressure to meet quotas for citations and violation notices in surveys undertaken by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Ruch said. A Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, the organization is completing its annual survey of Forest Service staff and expect to find pressure mounting on the agency’s officers, he added.  “They need to change the leadership of that program,” Ruch told The Taos News, calling for the Forest Service to dismiss law enforcement and investigations director David Ferrell.

And here is the "cover-your-ass" email:

Tuesday, 3/4.


We have discussed this before but to ensure that there is no confusion, as our individual Patrol
Captains are working with their LEOs to implement FY 14 Performance Plans/Measures, please
ensure that no quotas are being developed with regard to the minimum number of VNs, WNs and IRs that an LEO must issue. We want the performance measures to be meaningful, but they
should not include quotas for the number of VNs, WNs or IRs written (or “expectations” that can
be construed as quotas). Please discuss this with your Commanders and ensure that they are reviewing the performance plans as appropriate so that this does not occur. In addition, we should all be consistent in our messaging that quotas regarding the number of VNs, WNs and IRs issued are not appropriate. Thanks. TP

Tracy S. Perry
Deputy Director
Law Enforcement and Investigations

PEER's materials on this issue are here.  In spite of the Aban Lucero's email which says, “Understand, Director Ferrell has clearly indicated his expectations of LEOs issuing a minimum of 100 VNs per year...", the Forest Service is denying they have quotas.  U.S. Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers released this statement Wednesday:

"The U.S. Forest Service is committed to quality police work on the lands we are charged with protecting, including fostering a relationship of trust with the communities we serve. In the spirit of that mission, the Forest Service does not require any citation quotas, and the agency has not issued formal or informal guidance to that effect. We are reviewing recent events in Taos and the coordination with both Taos Ski Valley and local authorities to assure that the Forest Service always handles these types of situations in the best way possible. Once the after action review of the operation there is completed, we will begin to implement recommendations. We take our mission to protect and serve very seriously, and view this as an opportunity to improve the way we partner with the communities where we live and work."

It appears to me the Forest Service does or did have quotas as part of their performance review.  It also appears to me their LEOs and the LEI division is the only part of the federal agency that's not into collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.  And they are the ones who need to practice it the most.  

Update:  The Albuq. Journal has an editorial posted online today, where they refer to "The Great Taos Dope Raid"  and write "the Saturday crowd was viewed as one big quota filling opportunity."

1 comment:

Floyd said...

There is a more basic question about these forest service rangers and that is the lack of law enforcement authority in the Constitution. For the most part there has been no cession of jurisdiction to the federal government from the state I live in and I'd bet that is true here as well. You might ask them to provide in writing how they determined that they have jurisdiction over persons and subject matter? Or you might ask them why they are impersonating police officers?