Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Yosemite Falls

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (97% of Full)


Advanced

Re: Could the NPS eliminate the law enforcement ranger position?

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

avatar Could the NPS eliminate the law enforcement ranger position?
October 02, 2014 12:16PM
Just wondering. It always seems to cause confusion that what's effectively the police at most NPS units are dressed in the same uniforms and have a similar title as non law enforcement personnel. It's gotten to the point where an LE organization wants to make their responsibilities clear on their vehicles with markings that say "LAW ENFORCEMENT" or better yet "POLICE". It's my understanding that some people don't take them seriously as a result of their uniform.

http://rangerfop.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/VehicleMarkingProposal_RangerFOP_May2013.pdf

I'd suggest just getting rid of the designation and making all NPS law enforcement US Park Police. USPP have patrol duties at Golden Gate NRA as well as in the DC and NYC areas.

I do understand that LE rangers often have interpretive and administrative duties that are shared with interpretive rangers, but I think the uniform causes confusion regarding their primary duties.
Re: Could the NPS eliminate the law enforcement ranger position?
October 03, 2014 02:41PM
Interesting. I don't necessarily see the issue as LE rangers have guns, etc and regular rangers don't so I'm not sure how much the uniform would change matters as the guns are fairly apparent. Visitors not taking them seriously I think is systematic of something else, not necessarily the uniform. Visitors should listen to what non-LE rangers tell them too right?

Plus making all LE rangers USPP, I think would further separate them from being rangers. I think it is an asset that LE rangers do some interpretation and other tasks and are not just police. Obviously, a lot of LE rangers do mostly police tasks now, especially in the larger parks, but I think having some interpretation or natural resources background makes them more effective in understanding the rules and knowing when somebody should be cited vs given a warning/education message. After all, a lot of the laws/rules in national parks are resource based.
avatar Re: Could the NPS eliminate the law enforcement ranger position?
October 05, 2014 12:17PM
Quote
buster
Interesting. I don't necessarily see the issue as LE rangers have guns, etc and regular rangers don't so I'm not sure how much the uniform would change matters as the guns are fairly apparent. Visitors not taking them seriously I think is systematic of something else, not necessarily the uniform. Visitors should listen to what non-LE rangers tell them too right?

Plus making all LE rangers USPP, I think would further separate them from being rangers. I think it is an asset that LE rangers do some interpretation and other tasks and are not just police. Obviously, a lot of LE rangers do mostly police tasks now, especially in the larger parks, but I think having some interpretation or natural resources background makes them more effective in understanding the rules and knowing when somebody should be cited vs given a warning/education message. After all, a lot of the laws/rules in national parks are resource based.

I've told this story before, but once I saw a group of kids mob an LE rangers patrol vehicle because they thought that she was going to lead a walk and they wanted her to sign their junior ranger books.

Also - interpretive rangers sometimes have access to weapons even though they're not sworn law enforcement. I saw video of a Yosemite ranger on bear hazing duty with a real shotgun firing rubber slugs. He was literally knocked to the ground after firing his weapon. I've heard of ranger/biologists having access to weapons, including one who shot a bear in the head and left it in the backcountry after it was determined that they couldn't place it back in the population after capturing it.

Also - there really may be an issue that many people don't recognize that they're law enforcement. Especially international visitors who may not be familiar with NPS titles/uniforms. I think a distinctive uniform could be helpful.
Re: Could the NPS eliminate the law enforcement ranger position?
October 07, 2014 03:52PM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
buster
Interesting. I don't necessarily see the issue as LE rangers have guns, etc and regular rangers don't so I'm not sure how much the uniform would change matters as the guns are fairly apparent. Visitors not taking them seriously I think is systematic of something else, not necessarily the uniform. Visitors should listen to what non-LE rangers tell them too right?

Plus making all LE rangers USPP, I think would further separate them from being rangers. I think it is an asset that LE rangers do some interpretation and other tasks and are not just police. Obviously, a lot of LE rangers do mostly police tasks now, especially in the larger parks, but I think having some interpretation or natural resources background makes them more effective in understanding the rules and knowing when somebody should be cited vs given a warning/education message. After all, a lot of the laws/rules in national parks are resource based.

I've told this story before, but once I saw a group of kids mob an LE rangers patrol vehicle because they thought that she was going to lead a walk and they wanted her to sign their junior ranger books.

Also - interpretive rangers sometimes have access to weapons even though they're not sworn law enforcement. I saw video of a Yosemite ranger on bear hazing duty with a real shotgun firing rubber slugs. He was literally knocked to the ground after firing his weapon. I've heard of ranger/biologists having access to weapons, including one who shot a bear in the head and left it in the backcountry after it was determined that they couldn't place it back in the population after capturing it.

Also - there really may be an issue that many people don't recognize that they're law enforcement. Especially international visitors who may not be familiar with NPS titles/uniforms. I think a distinctive uniform could be helpful.

Haven't heard that story before, but I totally believe it.

I agree that there is a 'problem' or issue. My disagreements and points of concern are how significant of a problem is it, if it warrants a separate uniform, if a separate uniform will solve the problem while not creating new ones and how much will it cost. It is my belief that it isn't that big of an issue, the separate uniforms won't really solve the problem and may create more confusion then it solves while costing us taxpayers a little bit more.

In the examples that you gave, I think the use of the shotgun against the bear is just for use against bears and is not available for 'general' use.
avatar Re: Could the NPS eliminate the law enforcement ranger position?
October 07, 2014 10:06PM
Quote
buster

Haven't heard that story before, but I totally believe it.

I agree that there is a 'problem' or issue. My disagreements and points of concern are how significant of a problem is it, if it warrants a separate uniform, if a separate uniform will solve the problem while not creating new ones and how much will it cost. It is my belief that it isn't that big of an issue, the separate uniforms won't really solve the problem and may create more confusion then it solves while costing us taxpayers a little bit more.

In the examples that you gave, I think the use of the shotgun against the bear is just for use against bears and is not available for 'general' use.

I don't know if it's a "story" per se even though I used that word. I saw it first hand. Literally all the kids waiting for the naturalist (who turned out to be working for a nonprofit) didn't quite have it sink in that this was not their tour guide. However, she didn't have the stern look I see of many police; if I saw her on the street out of uniform I would have guessed she was a schoolteacher. My understanding is that quite a few LE rangers started off in interpreting but moved into the LE position because it was considered a good career move, such as the ranger shot and killed at Mt Rainier.

I do understand that the modern LE ranger classification sort of morphed into what it is now with the shiny badge and all the accoutrements of police work. I think most of us would recognize the badge on sight, but does the average visitor? While it might be helpful if their patrol vehicles were marked "POLICE", they can perform duties on foot or on horseback. I know they carry guns, but not everyone notices that.

Still - I do understand that some park superintendents started off in LE positions.

Also - I don't think that many people know much about the USPP. They only patrol certain NPS areas around their bases, and I think their detectives dress in plain clothes for investigative work. And I thought that it sort of duplicates the function of NPS Special Agents.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login