April 23, 2014

Mostly cloudy

Study doesn’t back guns for park rangers

A consultant doesn’t think arming rangers is a good idea despite the rangers’ requests to be allowed to carry weapons for self-protection and to protect parks visitors in central Ohio.

The consultant hired by Metro Parks officials in Columbus recommends that they create a separate armed police force or pay an existing law-enforcement agency to patrol the parks instead of arming existing rangers, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

A union official representing the rangers disagrees.

“They’re law-enforcement officers — arm them,” Tracy Rader, staff representative of the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council said. Rader noted that Metro Parks rangers already receive firearms training.

The consultant’s report noted that Cleveland Metroparks, Toledo Metro Parks and Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton arm their rangers. It also said the U.S. Forest Service and California State Parks arm rangers.

Metro Parks officials repeatedly have rejected rangers’ requests to carry weapons.

The consultant, Voorhees Associates of Chicago, presented Metro Parks officials with several options to consider, including arming the 18 full-time rangers. But the consultant didn’t recommend that option.

One option recommended would require paying a law enforcement agency to patrol the parks, which would result in disbanding the current ranger program and replacing rangers with a “guest services” staff.

That option would save Metro Parks more than $1.5 million in annual personnel costs but would require paying for local police contracts, the report said.

Voorhees did note the parks are vulnerable to indiscriminate or targeted shootings and to someone driving into park visitors who are on foot. A majority of full-time rangers did not feel safe, according to the report.

  • CobraDude

    My Dad was a ranger for the park district years ago. He quit for this exact reason. Driving through these remote parks at midnight with no gun or protection is utterly ridiculous. You have no back-up whatsoever should you need help.nnThe consultant is an idiot at best. Maybe he should visit the parks at 11:00 pm so he can get first hand knowledge of the situation.

  • Terry Massey

    the rangers should be armed….they are risking their lives every day to protect the visitors of the park system.nif their pay comes out of my taxes then we should vote on it….put it on a ballot…..WE AS TAX PAYERS need to take our country back…we don’t need consultants telling us what we need….ITS OUR MONEY…THEN ITS OUR VOTE THAT MATTERS……THEY ARE PARK POLICE…..GIVE THEM WEAPONS…..one day ( or night ) our lives may depend on it.nnI FOR ONE ARE GETTING TIRED OF SOME PENCIL PUSHER SITTING BEHIND A DESK TELLING ME ( US ) WHAT WE NEED OR DON’T NEED…IF I WANTED THEIR THEIR 2 CENTS I WOULD HAVE ASKED FOR IT…nnTerry massey