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Park rangers take over law enforcement duties at Hoover Dam

Updated December 17, 2017 - 7:20 pm

Changes have come to security at Hoover Dam, with National Park Service rangers taking over law enforcement duties from the now-defunct Bureau of Reclamation police department.

“Since 1931 we have had a local police department that turned into the Hoover Dam Police Department,” said Terry Fulp, Lower Colorado Region director of the Bureau of Reclamation.

“We’re the only office within the Bureau of Reclamation to do law enforcement.”

One factor contributing to the decision was construction of the Mike O’Callahan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, allowing traffic to bypass the dam.

Prior to the bridge opening, all the vehicles traveling to and from Arizona traveled over Hoover Dam, which meant the dam had to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Now, there is just one traffic checkpoint before the dam and public access is essentially closed from dusk until dawn.

Those changes and a study done early in 2017 indicated that the bureau needed a stronger security presence rather than a law enforcement one, so it created a security response team. The bureau now utilizes the National Park Service rangers for law enforcement, Fulp said.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s security force continues to handle security needs for the Hoover Dam facility, and when it encounters a situation where law enforcement is needed, the park rangers will come in.

The change went into effect Oct. 1. According to Fulp, none of the employees who had been on the former Hoover Dam Police Department were displaced.

All found new jobs within the Bureau of Reclamation, other agencies or the Park Service.

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