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  • Smith: DNR Changes Course, Will Bring Back Park Rangers

    I seem to recall some discussion here in the past about park security and park rangers positions. I find it interesting that the State of Wisconsin removed the law enforcement credentials of park rangers and is now returning to sworn, armed park rangers. I think the state park near me uses unarmed park security. Parks seem to really vary a lot. For example, the US Park Service near me has some seasonal folks and some year round staff. The cities and counties around here are all over the place. Most have unarmed folks, but some are armed.


    https://www.jsonline.com/story/sport...ers/875646002/

    Faced with rising costs and increasing public concerns, the Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday it will change course on its less than year-old law enforcement policy at state parks.

    Under the modification, the agency will once again use credentialed park rangers to perform law enforcement functions at parks and other state recreational properties.

    The DNR removed the law enforcement credentials of 120 park rangers under a realignment plan implemented this year.

    In their place, conservation wardens were tasked with performing all law enforcement at state recreational properties. In many instances, wardens were required to travel across the state for park duty, incurring costs for lodging, meals, gas and overtime.

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on the issue July 14.

    The plan stressed the understaffed warden force, deflated the morale of park rangers and caused concerns among the public over resource protection, service and safety, both within and outside of state park properties, multiple sources told the Journal Sentinel.

    Furthermore, it proved to be "financially unsustainable" for the agency, said Ben Bergey, state parks director, in a Tuesday phone interview.

    No individual has accepted responsibility for the flawed plan. The DNR has only said it was drafted by the Department Leadership Team, or DTL.

    "After six months of observation, we’ve decided to implement a new model on how this will work for consistent law enforcement," Bergey said. "The refinement is putting credentials back into the mix in the parks and forestry program."

    The change is projected to save the DNR $1.5 to $2 million in annual law enforcement costs, Bergey said.

    The credentialed park rangers will be dedicated to a property or properties and will report to managers in the parks division.

    Other key details of the modified plan have not yet been determined by the agency, including how many credentialed park rangers it will utilize and where they will be placed.

    Rangers who lost their credentials last year will be eligible to apply for the new positions.

    Under the modified plan, wardens would be responsible for about 5% of law enforcement coverage in state parks and other recreational properties while the credentialed rangers would handle 95%, according to an estimate by DNR officials.

    Bergey said the change will address goals of an agency-wide realignment begun in 2016, including to "protect the rich heritage and diverse needs of our customers" and "ensure financial sustainability."

    Although the number of credentialed rangers was not announced, the revised plan is likely to utilize significantly fewer than the 120 on staff in recent years.

    The law enforcement changes trace back to an agency-wide realignment begun two years ago under then DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp and fall within a larger goal to streamline state government under Gov. Scott Walker.

    The reorganization shrunk the DNR's structure from seven divisions to five and also eliminated the Bureau of Science Services.

    In a November 2016 memo announcing the changes, Stepp said the effort would not weaken environmental or conservation standards but was "intended to maximize how we use the staff resources we have available, working with our partners to accomplish our mission."

    The initial plan removed law enforcement from the parks division and placed it all under DNR chief warden Todd Schaller in the Bureau of Law Enforcement.

    It also called for 33 full-time warden positions to be added to the Bureau of Law Enforcement; however, only 11 were filled.
    The change announced Tuesday will cause the warden force to lose an undetermined number of the unfilled positions, DNR officials said.

    Reaction to the modified plan was largely positive from the Wisconsin conservation community.

    "I think it’s a good mid-course correction," said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and former DNR Secretary. "It addresses what clearly were problems observed by sportsmen and park users."

    The change will likely improve morale among both wardens and rangers and provide better service to the public, according to DNR employees who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Retired DNR warden supervisor Doug Hoskins of Muskego said it was a "huge step in the right direction."

    Hoskins had called the previous plan a "tragedy."

    "We'll have to see the actual numbers and how much of the burden they lift off of the warden force," Hoskins said. "But it seems like it is good news for the resource, good news for the sporting public, and good news for the warden force. We need to be vigilant and watch how it gets put in place."

    The first credentialed rangers under the revision are expected to take the field in 2019.

  • #2
    Reading between the lines: We were really stupid, tried to cut costs and appease the tree nuggets, crimes skyrocketed, the state told us to GTFO, we are dumb, now we need police back, save my job as a director.

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    • #3
      Unlike certain posters, I don't just make stuff up due to poor reading comprehension.

      What happened last time someone tried using Private Security to replace Rangers in a State Park. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn9YdML8PPw

      That incident did NOT result in ending of contract or even AFAIK firing of those in the video.

      Scary thing is, what is shown isn't nearly as bad as other stuff that was going on that was never caught on camera.

      IMO, this was a rare instance of Private Security doing a WORSE job than Civil Service, and there are particular reasons for that. It was a COMBO of Private greed AND Civil Service/Public Sector as CLIENT, thus weakness and lack of Adult Supervision and responsibility, not to mention a rare combo of certain key individuals in both Private and Public sides of this operation (typical Public and atypical Private).

      IMO, it would be easy to have great private security in State Park. Lots of quality people (and not cop wannabes) would love to do to the job just to be out in the great outdoors.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Squid View Post
        Unlike certain posters, I don't just make stuff up due to poor reading comprehension.

        What happened last time someone tried using Private Security to replace Rangers in a State Park. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn9YdML8PPw

        That incident did NOT result in ending of contract or even AFAIK firing of those in the video.

        Scary thing is, what is shown isn't nearly as bad as other stuff that was going on that was never caught on camera.

        IMO, this was a rare instance of Private Security doing a WORSE job than Civil Service, and there are particular reasons for that. It was a COMBO of Private greed AND Civil Service/Public Sector as CLIENT, thus weakness and lack of Adult Supervision and responsibility, not to mention a rare combo of certain key individuals in both Private and Public sides of this operation (typical Public and atypical Private).

        IMO, it would be easy to have great private security in State Park. Lots of quality people (and not cop wannabes) would love to do to the job just to be out in the great outdoors.
        Part of the problem when the gov't uses private security is that they are generally required to define a loose set of requirements, and then go with the lowest bidder. Even if the gov't agency knows that Company X is the far better choice for various reasons, if Company Y technically meets the requirements and is the lowest bidder, then they have to go with Company Y.

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        • #5
          Around 11 or 12 years ago Parks Canada was ordered by the labour safety board to arm the park wardens. After this decision Parks Canada stripped the peace officer status of the Park Wardens. The RCMP then took over policing our national parks, that didn't work out so Parks Canada reinstated the the peace officer status of Park Wardens and issued them sidearms which is the Smith and Wesson 5946, but with a reduced number of wardens being hired..
          Last edited by fortsmithman; 11-11-2018, 11:19 AM.

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          • #6
            The use of park rangers is indeed very,different from place to place. Some park rangers are lucky if they can issue parking tickets while others are armed peace officers and everything in between.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Consolewatcher View Post

              Part of the problem when the gov't uses private security is that they are generally required to define a loose set of requirements, and then go with the lowest bidder. Even if the gov't agency knows that Company X is the far better choice for various reasons, if Company Y technically meets the requirements and is the lowest bidder, then they have to go with Company Y.
              you make a good Straight Man.

              At Candlestick Park there were weird paychecks. Guards got something like $12 "pay" but then about $9 of some Mystery Money that was wasn't taxed or treated as pay. Somehow the company had figured out a way to squeeze funds out of CA so they would be able to underbid other firms on "pay". Standard pay for any Armed Guard in SF is about $20/hr so no other firm could underbid.

              I've heard of lots of Gov't(and private) contracts where the "loose set of requirements" is actually written to ensure only certain companies could make money. In Biz Law we learned that McDs forces franchises to buy equip from one of 2 or 3 manufacturers that McD's holds in thrall because the requirements are so narrowly written. Knowing exactly what type of fryer and milkshake machine, McD's can then write perfect operating manuals.

              Could do similar for Security. Just look at what a company has as far as personal, their certs and training and equip and require all that but nothing else. But in Security I find there is huge diffs in quality of personal at same job level. You got folks doing it as temp job or Study Time, and you got guys for who "Warm Body" is their max performance level.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TOII View Post
                The use of park rangers is indeed very,different from place to place. Some park rangers are lucky if they can issue parking tickets while others are armed peace officers and everything in between.
                That is an excellent point. With regards to the United States Government alone, I recall that the National Park service has park rangers that are for protection, which are armed and have the power of arrest and other interpretive park rangers which have an identical uniform, but are unarmed with no arrest power.

                Other titles can vary a lot, too, from place to place. A number of years ago I took Fire Arson Investigation at the National Fire Academy. On the morning of the first day of training we all introduced ourselves and told a little bit about where we work. One of my classmates introduced himself as a deputy sheriff. I was a deputy sheriff at the time and during one of the breaks, I asked him what he did for the sheriff's office. I was curious if he was assigned to patrol, investigations or something completely different. He sort of gave me a strange look and said he was a building inspector for the city.

                I was puzzled by his response and asked why he said he was a deputy sheriff. He explained that where he is from, it was somewhere in the eastern part of the United States, he said that building inspectors held determine origin and cause on fires. Since he might need to get records through the use of an administrative subpoena, they gave him a deputy sheriff commission so that he could do that!

                Back to park stuff now. In Minnesota, where I live, I have never known the MN DNR to have armed park rangers. If a park needs police response, either a Conservation Officer responds or, typically, a deputy sheriff from the county where the park is located. Even Fort Snelling State Park, which is probably Minnesota's most "urban" state park, is deemed to be within the service area of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

                Some county parks had armed park rangers a number of years ago. Dakota County, for example, had an armed park ranger that supervised unarmed park rangers.

                Three Rivers Park District does have a Department of Public Safety, which has some licensed, armed officers. They went from tan to blue uniforms a number of years ago and look very similar to a traditional police department, rather than a park ranger.

                The cities, too, seem to be all over on this. The Minneapolis Park Police look very similar to the uniforms of the Minneapolis Police. They are armed. Neighboring Saint Paul has unarmed folks patrolling their parks. They are Park Security officers. I think they had the title ranger some years back.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by fortsmithman View Post
                  Around 11 or 12 years ago Parks Canada was ordered by the labour safety board to arm the park wardens. After this decision Parks Canada stripped the peace officer status of the Park Wardens. The RCMP then took over policing our national parks, that didn't work out so Parks Canada reinstated the the peace officer status of Park Wardens and issued them sidearms which is the Smith and Wesson 5946, but with a reduced number of wardens being hired..
                  From what I understand Parks Canada park wardens had a variety of duties including law enforcement, public upkeep of parks, visitor education, etc. When Parks Canada stripped park wardens of peace officer status they removed law enforcement duties from the park wardens while having them still do the rest of the duties. When they reinstated the peace officer status they reinstated it for some park wardens, armed them and assigned them mainly to law enforcement duties, while the rest of the park wardens were still non-armed, non-sworn and doing the non-law enforcement park warden duties.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Consolewatcher View Post

                    From what I understand Parks Canada park wardens had a variety of duties including law enforcement, public upkeep of parks, visitor education, etc. When Parks Canada stripped park wardens of peace officer status they removed law enforcement duties from the park wardens while having them still do the rest of the duties. When they reinstated the peace officer status they reinstated it for some park wardens, armed them and assigned them mainly to law enforcement duties, while the rest of the park wardens were still non-armed, non-sworn and doing the non-law enforcement park warden duties.
                    The employees who were park wardens, their titles are resource management specialist or similar titles. They are no longer wardens. The only people who are wardens are armed. At the park that is near my home town is Wood Buffalo National park, and there are 2 or 3 park wardens posted here. WBNP is different than most national parks for 1 there no fee to enter the park. Two hunting, and trapping by first nations, and Metis is allowed for those first nations, and metis whose traditional hunting territory became the park. With that said WBNP is one park where the wardens can expect to run into armed persons who can legally posses, and use firearms.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A side note Parks Canada issues the Smith and Wesson 5946 a pistol that Smith and Wesson hasn't made since 1999.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fortsmithman View Post
                        A side note Parks Canada issues the Smith and Wesson 5946 a pistol that Smith and Wesson hasn't made since 1999.
                        The 5946 was a hell of a pistol back in the day. If I was going to authorize a firearm to a new department in 9MM my choice would be either the FNH FNS 9 or one of the Glock 9MM models like the G17 or the G19. No sense issuing a firearm no longer in production unless you have a bunch of them on hand from other departments.
                        Confronted with the choice, the American people would choose the policeman's truncheon over the anarchist's bomb.
                        Spiro Agnew

                        Why yes I am a glorified babysitter , I am here to politely ask you to follow the rules , if not daddy comes to spank you and put you in time out its your choice - Me

                        Luck is a red hair woman , if you ever dated one you know there remarkably dangerous , my personal preference is to be competent and let luck join the ride if she so chooses .- Clint Smith

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by psycosteve View Post

                          The 5946 was a hell of a pistol back in the day. If I was going to authorize a firearm to a new department in 9MM my choice would be either the FNH FNS 9 or one of the Glock 9MM models like the G17 or the G19. No sense issuing a firearm no longer in production unless you have a bunch of them on hand from other departments.
                          When the RCMP switched to the semi auto from the revolver the 5946 is what the federal govt chose. As well and the RCMP, and Parks Canada, federal fisheries officers carry the 5946. When Canada Customs started issuing sidearms I think they ran out of 5946s, ans issued Beretta PX4 9mm pistol.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jim1348 View Post

                            That is an excellent point. With regards to the United States Government alone, I recall that the National Park service has park rangers that are for protection, which are armed and have the power of arrest and other interpretive park rangers which have an identical uniform, but are unarmed with no arrest power.

                            Other titles can vary a lot, too, from place to place. A number of years ago I took Fire Arson Investigation at the National Fire Academy. On the morning of the first day of training we all introduced ourselves and told a little bit about where we work. One of my classmates introduced himself as a deputy sheriff. I was a deputy sheriff at the time and during one of the breaks, I asked him what he did for the sheriff's office. I was curious if he was assigned to patrol, investigations or something completely different. He sort of gave me a strange look and said he was a building inspector for the city.

                            I was puzzled by his response and asked why he said he was a deputy sheriff. He explained that where he is from, it was somewhere in the eastern part of the United States, he said that building inspectors held determine origin and cause on fires. Since he might need to get records through the use of an administrative subpoena, they gave him a deputy sheriff commission so that he could do that!

                            Back to park stuff now. In Minnesota, where I live, I have never known the MN DNR to have armed park rangers. If a park needs police response, either a Conservation Officer responds or, typically, a deputy sheriff from the county where the park is located. Even Fort Snelling State Park, which is probably Minnesota's most "urban" state park, is deemed to be within the service area of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

                            Some county parks had armed park rangers a number of years ago. Dakota County, for example, had an armed park ranger that supervised unarmed park rangers.

                            Three Rivers Park District does have a Department of Public Safety, which has some licensed, armed officers. They went from tan to blue uniforms a number of years ago and look very similar to a traditional police department, rather than a park ranger.

                            The cities, too, seem to be all over on this. The Minneapolis Park Police look very similar to the uniforms of the Minneapolis Police. They are armed. Neighboring Saint Paul has unarmed folks patrolling their parks. They are Park Security officers. I think they had the title ranger some years back.
                            Indeed. LA city park rangers are unarmed peace officers in a post certified agency but unarmed. They do make arrests and even do traffic stops. Santa Ana has park rangers hat are armed peace officer as does the MRCA. Other places with Rangers....have very little. Sadly, its a title that really doesn't tell you much.

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