Whistleblowing Chief of Park Police Fired

Seven months after suspending her for speaking out about increased safety risks in national parks due to underfunding and under staffing, the Interior Department has fired U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers. Though she was pressured by her superiors last year to conceal the fact that patrols were being reduced — they feared political embarrassment for President Bush, who campaigned on promises to spruce up the national park system — Chambers publicly spoke in December about her safety worries. She was immediately placed on paid leave. She asked the federal Office of Special Counsel, which investigates whistleblower cases, to look into the matter, but it moved so slowly that she filed her own request on Friday to the Merit Systems Protection Board to be immediately reinstated. Hours later, before the MSPB could rule, she was formally terminated. Chambers and her lawyers plan to appeal.