We contacted Honoring Our Troops this morning to check on the validity of the email with the above subject title. We were informed that the event was in fact an unannounced exercise conducted by the Federal Protective Service (FPS) with their bomb sniffing dogs (FPS is a part of DHS), the exercise was not conducted by DHS Police. We also learned from the VA Medical Clinic in Mission Valley that those exercises occur from at that facility from time to time, and it upsets the elderly and infirm Veterans there seeking medical services.
The email we received with Sarah Tipton’s name of origin, and forwarded was sent out from her computer by someone else in the office who had firsthand knowledge of the exercise, however because of privacy matters they wanted to maintain their confidentiality. Due to the same confidentiality concerns, we can only get personnel in the office of Honoring Our Troops to tell us that the parties who witnessed the exercise included a retired Navy Chiefs, employees of the VA Medical Center, patients inside the building, etc. who witnessed armed FPS officers walking up and down the corridors inside the VA Medical Clinic in Mission Valley.
The patriotic volunteers in the offices of Honoring Our Troops feel intimidated because of all the attention this has received and the intimidation & threatening phone calls they received from government employees who would not identify themselves; those volunteers only work in those offices to help Veterans and do not want to bring attention to themselves. It is our opinion that Veterans, possibly with heart conditions, suffering from PTSD, or elderly Veterans from the WWII or Korean era could be frightened and negatively affected by these para-military exercises in the middle of medical treatment; because of the seriousness of medical health reasons, FPS & DHS should be prevented from holding these para-military exercises at any VA medical Center. We did receive the below listed clarifying email from the offices of Honoring Our Troops:
“In response to your phone call and concerns. It was confirmed that that FPS (Federal Protective Service) division of DHS (Dept of Homeland Security) police was conducting an unannounced random exercise at the VA Healthcare Clinic in Mission Valley in order to protect the federal employees and visitors to the facility. The exercise had the officers of FPS conducting an exercise that consisted of searching the clinic building and areas around the building. FPS does not intend to harass or intimidate any veteran patients at the facility. The officers from FPS wear their black combat uniforms and body armor, for their safety and it is not meant to intimidate veterans or discourage veterans from using the VA Clinic.
Here is the link to the agency and their mission:
Due to confidentiality and threatening nature of calls received, our sources cannot be revealed. We were only making a request for answers and had no intent to bring any unwanted attention in helping veterans in need.”