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Interior secretary commends BLM cops over Bundy standoff

First Published      Last Updated May 16 2014 12:17 pm

Washington • Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has been mostly silent about the Bureau of Land Management's efforts to round up illegally grazing cattle in Nevada that belong to rancher Cliven Bundy. That court-ordered roundup was halted after an armed militia created a tense standoff that could have ended in gunfire and deaths.

This week, Jewell sent a note to the department's employees praising the 4,000 law enforcement officers who protect America's vast public lands and specifically noted the difficult jobs they find themselves in.

"Recently, we witnessed the risks that can confront our law enforcement officers, when the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service worked to uphold court orders to remove cattle illegally grazing on public lands in Nevada," Jewell said. "I am thankful for the professionalism that the officers displayed throughout the extremely dangerous situation; they are to be commended for their commitment to the safety of our employees and members of the public."

< p class="TEXT_w_Indent">Jewell's comments came as law enforcement officials gathered in Washington for a memorial service to honor local, state and federal officers killed in the line of duty. The Interior Department also recently heralded 16 officers with valor awards for risking their lives to save others, and Vice President Joe Biden recognized two U.S. Park Police officers who entered the Washington Navy Yard to stop a tragic shooting.

-- Thomas Burr