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Did You Know: The NIH Has an Armed Police Force?

Why does the NIH need an armed police force and who oversees that police force?

It surprised me when I found out.

Could this be another example of bloated government expanding beyond it’s stated authority, I thought to myself?

nih police vanHere is the stated mission of the NIH from their own website:

“NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.”

What makes them experts at investigation or police work?

My first thought was:  The NIH is a scientific research organization. Why do they need police? What crack pot came up with this use of taxpayer money?


Is the idea that they need to enforce their knowledge of living systems? I don’t get it and haven’t since the first time I saw an NIH Police van with my own eyes in Hamilton MT is 2009.

nih police van That’s weird I thought. And then I thought – what in the world are they doing here?

But what really got my attention was the slogan painted on the side of the brand new black SUV in gold letters that said:

“Serving the NIH through Community Policing.”

Something about that slogan rubbed me the wrong way – like what happened to serve and protect. Why does the police force need to serve the NIH and not the people in the community, I thought?

Subsequently they have changed the slogan on the new SUV’s.  I saw a current picture yesterday with the new version of the slogan:

“Serving the NIH through Community Oriented Policing”.

In May of 2009, I was surpised to see an armed NIH officer in the parking lot of the post office. In my mind, I asked myself, why do we need another police force? Why does the NIH need guns anyway?

Following up on that, the local jurisdiction of the NIH police force – in Hamilton Mt – is only authorized to “police” is a 35 acre research facility. Why do they need 15 officers? To my knowledge there is no local authority overseeing their “police force”.

Why not? What is their purpose? And on whose behalf?

There is no way, a private entity could ever function this way financially. To me this is just another example of a bloated, expanding govt – not to mention spending taxpayer dollars needlessly when we don’t have the money.

A couple of officers, ok – maybe – but 15?

Why does a town of 3700 people need with 15 local police officers, 29 Sheriff Deputies and 15 NIH police?

I just found a link to the ICMA (International City/County Management Association) website survey results. The survey results reflect the print and online responses of 1,263 local government respondents from across the nation.

Personnel per 1,000 residents, the average number of uniformed sworn personnel for police is 2.16 and for fire is 1.60.

At 2.16 per thousand residents, that would be 2.1 x 3.7 = ~8 officers total.  There are 59 – more than 7 times the national average and this is a rural community with a low crime rate.

This NIH police force was established in the event of terrorist activities after 9/11. First of all, it makes me wonder what is going on at the Rocky Mountain Lab that the locals may need to know about.  What is going on there that might pose such a significant threat in the event of an attack? Secondly, if it is a national security issue I want Seal Team 6 (or  some other elite group that is trained properly) there. Not bureaucrats with 9 mm’s and mini vans – especially 15 of them.

Something is rotten in Denmark and nobody is talking about it.

I think the NIH should stick to the politics of research funding and stay out of the security business, what do you think?

Why do I care about Hamilton, Montana,you might be asking? Well I lived there for 9 winters and have 7 grandchildren and two daughters that live there. It’s a beautiful community and I will always consider it my 2nd home – no matter where I am traveling or where else I stay.

Hamilton represents a metaphor for all the small towns in America with a core group of hard working, honest people who do the best they can every day. What happens there and happens to the people could happen anywhere. Only this is my family we’re talking about.

“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” – Benjamin Franklin.

“Question authority.” – Socrates

These quotes apply today more than ever. I propose we all start asking a lot of questions – and demanding answers that make sense.


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