Hagerty Leads Colleagues in Raising Concerns Over DOI Spokesperson’s Anti-Police Rhetoric

December 5, 2023

Tyler Cherry’s statements come to light as the USPP reports record-low staffing numbers

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, yesterday led his colleagues in sending a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland raising concerns over the lack of action taken after the Department of the Interior (DOI)’s spokesperson, Tyler Cherry, posted several anti-police statements online as the U.S. Park Police (USPP), an agency within DOI, reports record-low recruitment and retention. Co-signers of the letter include Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Ted Budd (R-NC), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

“As you may be aware, between 2014 and 2018, your Department’s spokesperson, Tyler Cherry, posted a number of offensive and derogatory statements towards law enforcement officers online,” the Senators wrote. “We are appalled by these statements, which have come to light amid near-record low staffing at the U.S. Park Police (USPP)—a federal law enforcement agency housed within your Department.”

“Making hateful and divisive public statements towards law enforcement officers is directly counter to the goal of improving police-community relations, increasing officer morale, and recruiting and retaining a high-quality police force,” the Senators continued. “Cherry’s conduct is unbecoming of a senior Department of the Interior (DOI) official. Accordingly, we urge you and your Department to immediately condemn these repugnant statements and take appropriate remedial action.”

The Senators requested the following information by December 18, 2023:

  1. Please provide the number of active, sworn USPP officers by year dating back to 2010.
  2. What is the minimum number of active, sworn USPP officers needed to meet the agency’s critical public safety mission? Please share the data used to support DOIs minimum staffing estimates.
  3. Please provide the number of USPP officer job vacancies from 2020 – 2023 (YTD).
  4. Please describe actions that DOI has taken to improve morale, recruitment, and retention at USPP.
  5. Please describe programs in place at DOI to recruit and retain law enforcement officers.
  6. Was any official at DOI, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), or the White House Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) aware of Cherry’s public anti-law enforcement statements prior to his onboarding at DOI?
  7. On what date did you become aware of Cherry’s anti-law enforcement statements?
  8. Do you believe that Cherry’s statements have had a positive or negative effect on USPP morale?
  9. Does your department support, endorse, or agree with Cherry’s comments? Does your department plan to issue a public statement indicating such position?

A copy of the letter can be found here.