LAS VEGAS — The federal agency overseeing water and power is in the market for 52,000 rounds of ammunition for its officers at Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, raising questions about weapons for nonmilitary purposes.
The Bureau of Reclamation put out a bid in June for 41,600 rounds of hollow-point ammunition and 10,400 rounds of shotgun ammunition.
The ammo is paid for by revenue from utility companies that buy electricity from Hoover Dam, but the bureau won’t say how it will be used or offer details on its law enforcement plan at the popular tourist destinations. A 2008 review of federal law enforcement indicated 21 officers patrolled Hoover Dam, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
“We want to limit the amount of information any bad guys might have about our protection capabilities,” Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Rose Davis told the newspaper.
In addition to the bureau, which operates in Nevada out of its Boulder City office, the Department of Homeland Security and the Las Vegas police department are also called upon to handle Hoover Dam security.
The Bureau of Reclamation most recently purchased a large stock of ammo in 2013 and since 2008 has requested ammunition 19 times for use nationwide.
U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., has said he will seek answers from the bureau including how many officers are using firearms and how they are using them.
The lawmaker was among a group of GOP congressmen who tried, unsuccessfully, to prohibit some federal authorities from using or buying weapons after a high-profile standoff in Nevada turned tense. In April 2014, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters faced off with the Bureau of Land Management after a federal judge authorized that agency to remove his cattle from public land. No shots fired although both sides were armed.