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Park Rangers Required

CATEGORY: In the News |
On Mar 12, 2015

IMG_1567With the elimination of L.A.’s park security force, Rangers in Griffith Park are needed now, more than ever…

Interior discussions are underway at City Hall to absorb the Office of Public Safety (OPS) into the Los Angeles Police Department. Currently, OPS officers (a.k.a. General Services Police) are employed by an agency created in 2006 to provide security for parks and public buildings. If talks go as intended, OPS will be dissolved. Its officers will assume the uniform and portfolio of the LAPD. This will open a security gap in regional parks like Griffith Park, and there has been no indication of how it will be resolved. The LAPD has its hands full dealing with violent crimes and dangerous suspects. It is no surprise that priority is given to felonies. But it is the delayed or lack of response to lesser infractions that make urban parks inhospitable: and if the “broken windows” syndrome is allowed to take hold, ultimately unsafe. This is why we need Park Rangers.

Park Rangers: efficient service providers

These khaki-clad officers are generalists in the field who react to safety and qualityof-life issues large and small. Park Rangers patrol on foot and in vehicles, rescue the lost and injured, administer first aid, unlock traffic jams, diffuse disputes, enforce regulations, provide interpretive guidance, respond to wildlife issues and play a role in natural resource management. They alert the LAPD to violent crime, serving as its guide in roadless and wilderness areas. And are first responders to fires, escorting the LAFD to the scene and remaining to help them navigate the back-country.

In these financially strapped times, Park Rangers are the city’s best bargain: they perform a remarkable multiplicity of tasks. This 2006 City Council Motion (04-2043) tells us that thoughtful officials recognized back then that the comprehensive dedicated coverage Park Rangers provide is an essential component of regional park safety. In part, it says: *“…The upcoming creation of an Office of Public Safety under the General Services Department creates a dedicated security unit and relieves the Park Rangers of many of their security duties, offering an important opportunity to re-examine the workload and appropriate deployment of the remaining Park Rangers, including the possibility of developing and implementing a Park Ranger deployment system whereby each of our large regional parks have dedicated coverage, as appropriate, in the recreational, environmental, and security areas.” Six years later OPS is on track for dissolution. At the same time, Park Ranger Division staffing and hours are at an all-time low. The Chief Park Ranger position remains unfilled. It is a crisis in the making.

Save the Rangers: let the city hear from you.

Recent attacks in Griffith Park should make Park Rangers patrolling Griffith Park a priority, but is Rec & Parks paying attention to the issue?



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