I thought, well, maybe this is for Forest Service because they do get shot at sometimes by marijuana growers on FSAFEDS land, but no. Why does OIG need guns and body armor?
“Pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978 and Section 1337 of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 (P.L. 97-98), OIG Investigations is the law enforcement arm of the Department, with Department-wide investigative jurisdiction. OIG Special Agents conduct investigations of significant criminal activities involving USDA programs, operations, and personnel, and are authorized to make arrests, execute warrants, and carry firearms. The types of investigations conducted by OIG Special Agents involve criminal activities such as frauds in subsidy, price support, benefits, and insurance programs; significant thefts of Government property or funds; bribery; extortion; smuggling; and assaults on employees.”
The above is a portion of the explanation of the office, from the USDA website.
In light of recent news, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are criminal nuts out there who would fire on USDA enforcement personnel. For what its worth, my spouse’s cousin is with the BLM out west, and has more than once been threatened by weapon-toting complainers who think that U.S. land is their personal property.
To my mind, this still doesn’t justify having their own police/quasi-military force.