Note: This story was updated at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 24.
Local law enforcement officers haven’t noticed an impact on investigations or criminal proceedings from the partial shutdown of the federal government, but agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has helped investigate crimes in Oak Ridge, are working without pay.
The shutdown is in its 33rd day, and it is the longest ever. It began Saturday, December 22, and it affects about 25 percent of the U.S. government, including the departments of Homeland Security and Justice, among other federal agencies. The shutdown hinges on a dispute between President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress over whether to spend $5.7 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
On Wednesday, the Oak Ridge Police Department said it has not observed any impact from the partial government shutdown, and the ORPD continues to work with its federal partners. Besides the FBI, the ORPD also works with, for example, the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Seventh Judicial District Attorney General Dave Clark said he is not aware of any impact at this time, including on investigations or criminal proceedings. Clark said he just met with the Anderson County sheriff and the county’s police chiefs on Tuesday, and “there was no mention of anyone experiencing issues.”
On Thursday, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department said it is not aware of any cases affected by the federal shutdown.
In a statement, the FBI said its operations, including those in Knoxville and East Tennessee, are directed toward national security and violations of federal law, and they must be able to continue during a lapse in appropriations.
“As such, all FBI agents and support personnel in field offices are considered excepted from furlough,” the statement said. “This means they are working, but not getting paid. At FBI headquarters, certain personnel are designated as excepted from furlough to provide direction and investigative support to all field operations and select headquarters functions.”
On Tuesday, FBI agents from around the world offered grim accounts of the impact of the government shutdown on the agency’s operations, according to Newsweek. The accounts were included in a report released by the FBI Agents Association, an organization that represents more than 14,000 current and former FBI agents. The FBI Office of Public Affairs at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., responded to the Tuesday report with a statement that pointed out that the report, titled “Voices From the Field: FBI Agent Accounts of the Real Consequences of the Government Shutdown,” is a product of the FBIAA, a nonprofit professional association, and was not issued by the FBI.
The Wednesday statement from the FBI in Knoxville said it continues to encourage anyone who has information or would like to provide a tip to the agency to reach out to their local FBI field office or go to tips.fbi.gov.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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