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View Full Version : Park Ranger vs. Police Officer



Josh
09-10-2005, 03:18 PM
Is there any difference between the power and authority these 2 types of officers have? I know that Park Rangers only patrol parks/rural/wooded areas around here but I don't know if they have the same jurisdiction as a city police officer. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

irishlad2nv
09-10-2005, 07:21 PM
That depends on where you are referring too. U.S. Park Rangers are on a Federal level. Yes they do enforce laws, etc inside the parks contents, but they also enforce the local/state laws on which they are working at. Police Officers, well that depends on where they are too, a small town, a big city, a county for instance will enforce the laws on their jurisdiction.

orlandofed5-0
09-10-2005, 08:11 PM
We have game wardens who are also police officers in my department. They primarly enforce game enforcement laws within our boundries (IE illegal hunting and fishing). In Florida we have the Park patrol who are state police officers and have primary response for all state parks. Park rangers have no LE authority. Alot of cities have their own parks rangers who can only enforce muncipal regulations(IE drinking in the park, curfew etc.) and are not police officers. As Irishlad2nv pointed out park rangers and police officers enforce the law within their respective jurisdictions.

jakflak
09-11-2005, 11:30 AM
The real question is, where do the park rangers go to "Get away from it all"?

scooterlee
09-15-2005, 11:34 AM
In Ohio, all park rangers have to be certified police officers.

Bodie
09-16-2005, 06:49 AM
But in Ohio the authority of a park ranger is limited to the park property. And generally pay is lower then that of some leo agencies. Game wardens have a broader range of powers.

We have Metro Parks Rangers who work for the local metro parks sytem and we have those that work in the larger state park system. Not too many young energetic people are interesed in a ranger position unless they are using it as a way into another leo career.

Camo Cop
09-23-2005, 06:53 AM
Around here...

The powers of Federal Park Rangers like the ones in Kisatchie National Forest end at the boundaries of the federally owned property. Depending on where you are it's possible for a Fed. Park Ranger to also have local creditials hough his bosses would likely frown upon him/her for using that power without a very good reason.

The responsibilities of our State Park Police also end at the park boundaries though technically their powers carry beyond the boundaries. Same situations may exist with local creds.

The powers held by our state's game wardens is huge. They're empowered to enforce federal, state and local laws. Suffice to say they carry more technical authority than any other LEO's in our state. They can enforce anything between the federal RICO statutes and a local ordinance for violating a wake zone. Additionally the Supreme Court has given them expanded search powers in certain circumstances. They can stop boats to check for safety compliance inspections without having probable cause. Those stops sometimes result in an operator receiving a DWI and the Supreme Court has upheld the "no PC needed". When they're in the field they can search a hunter or his vehicle without a warrant. Many people believe that those expanded search powers extend all the way into someone's home but they're mistaken. When it comes to a residence our game wardens have to play by the same rules as the average police officer.

lifesaving123
09-29-2005, 03:27 PM
Basically, and every who has said stuff already it aboslutly correct, but it varies throughout the country. There will be situations where federal rangers may have authoritity on local county property, or vice versa, a local PD may have authority on federally owned lands. But down to literal differences, your rangers will have a completly different list of responsibilities then a local cop would have. Myself personally, if offered a federal or state rangers job, would be there in a second!

Reapp
10-24-2005, 12:28 PM
....expanded search powers in certain circumstances. They can stop boats to check for safety compliance inspections without having probable cause. Those stops sometimes result in an operator receiving a DWI and the Supreme Court has upheld the "no PC needed". When they're in the field they can search a hunter or his vehicle without a warrant. Many people believe that those expanded search powers extend all the way into someone's home but they're mistaken. When it comes to a residence our game wardens have to play by the same rules as the average police officer.

Hell, I can do this in Texas and I am a municipal police officer (albeit a certified Marine Safety Enforcement Officer), the only thing I don't have is the expanded search powers granted to game wardens.

cstelz
11-12-2005, 02:07 PM
Are you asking because you're interested in becoming a ranger, or because a ranger issued you a cite/arrested you, and you didn't think he/she could?

I just left the state Parks and Rec. dept, where I was a state peace officer/ranger. In CA, state rangers have the same authority as the CHP, Fish and Game, DMV, etc. State Peace Officers. While our focus is the parks, we can and do enforce any city or county codes, as well as all applicable state codes. Our authority is state wide. Our jurisdiction is state wide. Our beat is the State of California.

I hope this helps clarify your question.

kirch
11-15-2005, 05:54 PM
Like everyone else said, it's going to depend largely on where you're located. Additionally, it's going to depend on the type of 'park ranger' you're referring to. Park ranger has become sort of a generic term to refer to many, dramatically different jobs. Not all are law enforcement.

At the federal level, you have:
- U.S. Park Police, charged with law enforcement at the national parks in Washington DC (The Mall, Washington Monument, etc.) as well as in New York City and San Francisco. They are the closest thing the federal governement has to municipal patrol officers.
- Fish & Wildlife Service Officers, charged with enforcing federal laws regarding fish and wildlife protection.
- National Park Rangers, who fall into two categories. One is comprised of the interpretative staff that gives talks and tours at National Parks; no LE powers. The other is made up of law enforcement personnel that enforce federal as well as state laws on National Park property.

In our state, we have:
- Conservation Wardens, which are often referred to as 'Rangers'. In fact, I was visiting a state park this summer and saw the park's CW driving a squad car marked 'RANGER'. They have state-wide law enforcement status, though they spend most of their efforts enforcing game and state laws at state parks, forest, and other state-owned natural areas.
- State Park Rangers, who are the ones that typically check people into campgrounds at state parks. Little to no legal authority.

Locally, many municpalities employ Park Rangers. In our city, the municipal park rangers do everything from running summer programs to doing maintenance to cleaning bathrooms at municipal parks. About all they can do is write parking tickets and other minor citations.

Hope that helps.

Sock Eating Gol
11-15-2005, 06:41 PM
I'm a Park Ranger for a county park district in NE Ohio. We are police officers. We have the same authority as any LEO in Ohio. We are limited in our juristiction. Our jurisdiction does extend off park property to adjacent properties. Also there is case law that we may take police action off property in incidents that may cause serious public harm, DUI, Robbery while we're in the store, ect. We also run traffic enforcement on our park roadways. We have two radar units. One is attached to the truck that works the park with our main roadway, the other is a handheld unit.

FearTheCats
11-15-2005, 07:11 PM
Park rangers and wildlife enforcement officers are the most frequently assaulted out of all types of LEO's.

Camo Cop
11-15-2005, 08:31 PM
Park rangers and wildlife enforcement officers are the most frequently assaulted out of all types of LEO's.

Do you have a source for that?

RECOIL4015
11-15-2005, 09:40 PM
Our Game Warden Had Me Come Out Last Fall Because He Had The Robo Deer Shot From A Truck And The Guy Was Dus. I Had To Write The Dus.

FearTheCats
11-17-2005, 08:08 PM
Here is one source.

http://www.rangerfop.com/members/press/aug2602.htm


Here is another.

http://www.rangerfop.com/Members/press/aug1202.htm

You have to remember that these individuals are patrolling areas where people are using high powered rifles and other types of firearms. These studies only recognize that they are the most assaulted federal officers. However, I have conducted several studies for my masters program outlining the different assault rates on law enforcement officers. When comparing assault rates per 500 in North Carolina, NC Wildlife Officers are 6 times more likely to be assaulted during a shift than an officer with Charlotte Meck.

bwolf
11-17-2005, 10:52 PM
So to sum things up Josh... whether or not a park ranger has law enforcement authority is completely up to the agency that employs them. It isn't just a simple cut yes or no. As you see above, many feds, NPS, US Forestry Service, Game Rangers, etc are usually full authority sworn LE. SOME state park rangers are LE, SOME are not (like AZ state rangers...they are mostly maintenence/interpretive rangers). SOME local cities employ sworn LEs, and again SOME do not. You need to check with the employing agency.

Then there are some Park Rangers who are not sworn LE, but have several responsibilties and authority under law via City Ordinances or City Code. They are civilians. Because the city gives them specific authority in their own laws, you are still required to obey a lawful order. In my experience, these types of rangers work a fine line....Phoenix AZ park rangers are not sworn LE however they drive marked patrol vehicles with reds/blues and I believe they are armed (correct me if they ARE LE, I don't think they are). The city of Peoria AZ, next to phoenix, is not armed, but has authority in parks and neighboring areas to protect people and property, enforce minor traffic, issue written civil and misdemeanor citations to city/justice courts, submit charges, can trespass and issue orders to leave, and detain for arrest for violations. The city of Glendale, AZ park rangers also issues citations and patrols parks. City of Tempe, AZ park rangers work within the police dept under supervision of a sworn LE patrol sergeant.

So it really all depends...and I know I rambled. The thing is that city property, parks, etc are city owned. They have established rules/regulations as well as city code. Even if the park rangers are civilians (and are allowed under their employers policy) they can lawfully detain (excersizing their right to a citizens arrest). So really its not even a matter if a ranger is sworn or civilian...someone is violating a law and are detained or cited by a citizen (in this case a citizen employed by the city government, acting as a government official), its legal.

:eek:

Camo Cop
11-17-2005, 11:38 PM
Thanks FearTheCats. I can see that with the Fed. Park Rangers. Our state agents are, on average, a lot different than the average Fed. Ranger.

Bel_Biv_CA
12-12-2012, 09:39 AM
Has anybody heard of DoD park rangers?

Hanmo
01-28-2013, 09:03 PM
There are all kinds of Park Rangers. I went to Academy with Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism Officers who had statewide jurisdiction, but there are also Federal Park Rangers also.

CACBAND
02-16-2013, 02:14 AM
Has anybody heard of DoD park rangers?

Yes, my buddy was a DOD Park Ranger, though he did more normal LE than game enforcement. However his base did away with the program and he's now doing LE for a different agency.

Snoddy
02-17-2013, 03:49 PM
For anyone interested, don't forget about the Bureau of Land Management Ranger Law Enforcement Officer. I talked to one of their recruiters and they hire for new Officers to go to El Centro, CA and then they can transfer to a better posting.

SCSU11
03-12-2013, 11:57 AM
Here, all Law Enforcement are of equal power. However, if a city cop is going out on trails and lakes he might have a difficult time explaining his reasons for enforcement in court. Same as if a Conservation Officer is enforcing traffic all day. City, County, State, and Conservation Officers do work together at times, and that is why all share equal power. Also, county enforcement tends to enforce fish and game laws considering they patrol waterways and trails. If County comes across a major issue such as poaching they will report it to Conservation Officers. If it is a simple citation such as fishing without a license, they will write it up.

HollywoodJayy
03-12-2013, 01:55 PM
Our Game Warden Had Me Come Out Last Fall Because He Had The Robo Deer Shot From A Truck And The Guy Was Dus. I Had To Write The Dus.

Is there a reason you capitalized every single word?

Tigershark
04-10-2013, 01:14 PM
The real question is, where do the park rangers go to "Get away from it all"?

Hahaha! That's a clown question, bro!

earlthepearl
07-01-2013, 07:49 PM
Yes, DoD has park rangers, but I think they are called conservation officers. They go to FLETC and attend the same training that National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife, Forest Service and TVA go to.