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Why Do The Feds Need 52,000 Bullets For Hoover Dam?

Hoover Dam
By Gayinspandex (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Bureau of Reclamation is asking for thousands of rounds of ammunition for its Hoover Dam law enforcement officers, but is it really necessary?

Another federal agency in Las Vegas is in the news.

This time it's the Bureau of Reclamation, which is putting out bids to buy 52,000 rounds of ammunition. 

The bureau oversees Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. 

Hoover Dam used to be the main road bridging Arizona to Nevada over the Colorado River. But in 2010, the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge was finished, diverting thousands of cars away from the dam each day.

So what does the Bureau of Reclamation need with all that ammo?

Kyle Roerink of the Las Vegas Sun covered the story for the newspaper.

He said the bureau was tightlipped about why the ammunition was needed and would not even say how many law enforcement agents it had at the dam.

"The bureau is not willing to shed any more light on this," Roerink told KNPR's State of Nevada

However, there is no question about the importance of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. It provides water and electricity to millions of people across the West.

Roerink and Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei question why an agency, which is responsible for dams and waterways across the country would need fire power.

"Why does an agency that is known for this type of resources management what do they need weapons and firearms for?" Roerink asked.

Roerink points out that the Bureau of Reclamation is not the only federal agency that, although most people wouldn't think needed weapons, has armed agents.

"This just provides an interesting look how deep the scope is in terms of federal officials that are carrying weapons on their day to day jobs," Roerkink said.

Kyle Roerink, reporter, Las Vegas Sun

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.