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The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today sent letters to the President and Congress after a whistleblower disclosed to OSC that Police Service leadership in Butler, Pennsylvania, conducted dangerous, active-threat training drills at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare center. The trainings were conducted without providing police officers advance notice, while the responding officers were on-duty and carrying loaded weapons. The agency substantiated the allegations, finding that the drills violated firearms safety protocols and put VA employees, police officers, and veterans in danger. In response, the Butler Healthcare Center Police Service suspended all trainings pending the revision of relevant procedures and subsequently implemented corrective measures.
“When police officers are asked to respond to an active threat while carrying loaded weapons, there is no room for error," said Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner. “These types of exercises should be conducted in a safe training environment. I thank the whistleblower for bringing this important issue to our attention and thank the VA for implementing corrective measures in the training program that will ensure the safety of all participants."