NPS Centennial Monthly Feature
For the remainder of this centennial year, we'll now explore some of the job functions which
the National Park Service performs. This month and next we'll take a look at the iconic National
Bob Krumenaker, in article which appeared in Vol. XVI No. 2, Spring 2000
The Journal of the Association of National Park Rangers, asked:
"What is a National Park Ranger?"
Is a national park ranger ...
- A commissioned employee who does LE, SAR, EMS, or patrols?
- An interpreter?
- A superintendent/manager of national parks?
All three of these are actually classified by the government as "park
rangers." Does your definition also include ...
- A resource management specialist?
- An administrative officer?
- A park historian or landscape architect?
- A B&U foreman or person who wears the uniform and cleans the
restroom in the visitor center?
- A biotech?
- A purchasing agent?
- A fee collector or front desk person in the VC, in uniform?
- A cooperating association employee at that same front desk?
- A scientific researcher working for another agency or academia?
- A president of a park Friends group?
- The regional director?
The public thinks anyone who works
for the NPS is a park ranger. Or at least anyone in uniform. Of course,
they also think most of us sit on horses and spend a lot of time peering
into the wilderness, "ranging." I think most employees in today's NPS
laugh at that, and would limit the use of the title "ranger" to the 025
protection and interpretation staff, and maybe include the
superintendent. My own bias would be to add at least the next three on
the list above (the professionals) and maybe the next two (field folks
doing stuff on the ground). I could probably even be convinced that the
NPS administrative and support folks are rangers of a sort...
At one time there were only a few
people who worked behind the scenes in parks, and they did everything.
(Were they all called "rangers" then?) Now, there are a lot more people
behind the scenes (not enough, of course), most are more specialized,
and many who wear the uniform proudly are trained biologists,
historians, archeologists or managers, in addition to the front line
people with specialized training in LE, SAR, EMS, interpretation, etc.
The rangers of today are a much more diverse group in every way. That
diversity includes not just gender, race, ethnicity, and disability, but
also education, training, expertise, and "ecological niche" in the
parks. Parks are more complicated organisms than they used to be,
requiring rangers of greater and greater specialization. ... The
"national park ranger" label should be an inclusive badge, proudly worn
by that exclusive group of people who work for the NPS and devote their
work lives to protecting and managing the national park
While noted for wearing their Stetson hats, the park rangers actually
wear many hats, especially for smaller parks where staffing is limited
and a park ranger is called on to perform several duties. Our
definition of a park ranger includes these four principal functions:
- Law Enforcement: Whose principal focus is on enforcing park regulations and laws,
keeping park visitors safe, and oftentimes the first responder who coordinates the
response to an incident.
- Interpretation and Education (I&E): We will explore more fully I&E next month,
but this job duty includes providing information to park visitors (examples include guided
nature hikes and nightly campfire programs), establishing programs which foster natural
resource protection and stewardship and development of curriculum-based educational
programs (examples include teacher's guides and traveling trunks).
- Emergency Response: These are the rangers who are called out to perform search and
rescue operations, wilderness first-aid and wildland firefighting, along with more
specialized rescues as mountain climbing and swift-water rescues.
- Maintenance: Clearly a role requiring 'many hats' and extends from performing
routine maintenance on park facilities, but also includes restoration of historic
properties and trail construction/maintenance.
The National Park Service's Learning
and Development Office operates three park ranger Training Centers. The Horace Albright
Training Center (Grand Canyon NP) is a primary training facility for
Servicewide Employee Learning and Development. Assigned programs include the NPS
Fundamentals program and Natural Resource Stewardship. The Stephen T. Mather
Training Center (Harpers Ferry, WV) develops and hosts training programs and
learning opportunities for a large segment of the NPS workforce. From this
facility, the NPS Career Academy program, the NPS Distance Learning Center, and
the Dept. of Interior Learn program are directed by training and program
managers. The Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) (Frederick, MD)
is dedicated to the safe preservation and maintenance of national parks or
partner facilities by demonstrating outstanding leadership, delivering quality
preservation services, and developing educational courses that fulfill the
competency requirements of Service employees in the career fields of Historic
Preservation Skills, Risk Management, Maintenance, and Planning, Design, and
This month we recognize the role of the law enforcement ranger. For more
information about park rangers, the Association of National Park Rangers is a non-profit
organization dedicated "to promot(ing) and enhanc(ing) the professions, spirit
and mission of National Park Service employees"; most of the issues of their
excellent journal Ranger: The Journal of the Association of National
Park Rangers, are online. To learn more about becoming a park
Ranger EDU is a helpful resource to consult along with these additional books.
The following article first appeared in Ranger: The Journal of the Association of
National Park Rangers, Vol. I, No. 2 Spring, 1985.
The Evolution of Enforcement in the Service
William O. Dwyer and Robert Howell
Dr. William Dwyer is head of the park ranger training program at
Memphis State University and a seasonal at Acadia.
Robert Howell is a former park ranger currently working as a DEA agent in New York.
"To conserve the scenery and the natural and historical objects
and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in
such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the
enjoyment of future generations."(1)
This encompassing statement articulates the double mission
fundamental to the National Park Service on the one hand it must
protect the resources which have been entrusted to it and on the other
it must manage the people who come, for whatever reasons, to visit the
resources. Unlike some organizations which operate in fairly static
environments, the Park Service is faced with the task of continually
adjusting to the ever-changing demands and expectations placed on it by
economics, politics and the millions of people who visit its areas each
Horse-mounted patrol rangers at Yosemite during
Queen Elizabeth's visit in 1983. Photo
by Mike Dixon.
In recent years part of this burden was clearly evident in the
evolution of the law enforcement role of the park ranger, during which
the Park Service had to meet a perceived need to pay more attention it
its law enforcement and people-management responsibilities, while at the
same time preserving what was held to be the traditional role of the
park ranger as an ambassador of good will. The history of this changing
role is charged with strong, yet varying opinions, heated debates, false
starts and many trips back to the drawing boards. It is a story of
organizational change and, in our judgment, one of successful
What happened during this period of transition? How did the Park
Service deal with these changes? What pressures had to be contended with
and what balances had to be reached? Parts of this story are known to
many in the Service, but few particularly among those new to the
agency have heard it in its entirety. Because of this and because
much of the dust has now settled on the law enforcement question, we
feel that this is a proper time and place to examine how the Service
developed a law enforcement capability to meet the new demands placed on
Historically, park rangers have been responsible for the protection
of park areas even before they were officially called "rangers" in
1905(2), and it is possible to trace the evolution of law enforcement
functions in the Park Service back- to its inception. However,
significant changes in the ranger's law enforcement role did not begin
to take place until the late 1960s.
The 1960s and early 1970s witnessed the advent of the national
recreation areas and national seashores and lakeshores, many of which
were near urban locations and were developed with extensive visitor use
in mind. The introduction of these areas modified rangers'
responsibilities and oriented them toward the visitors and their
behavior, in contrast to the resourceprotection emphasis they had
traditionally known. People were beginning to make much greater use of
park areas, and with these people came a need to manage them
In 1970 the International Association of Chiefs of Police completed a
study for the Park Service which revealed that an increasing burden was
being placed on the park ranger in the area of people management and law
enforcement. The report stated that this burden stemmed from the "growth
in public use in national parks and the growing tendency to disregard
park regulations and the rights of others. "(3)
A major incident supporting the findings of this study occurred in
Yosemite in July 1970. Several hundred young people gathered in
Stoneman's Meadow and drew complaints of "dope, profanity, nudity and
sex" from other park visitors. After this group ignored a curfew,
rangers on horseback drove them from the meadow, but the following day
the group returned and this time the rangers were met with bottles and
rocks.(4) In the hours that followed, nearly 100 police officers from
nearby communities assisted the rangers in quelling the disturbance.
Numerous people were arrested and several accusations were made
concerning the use of excessive force by police and rangers. (5)
Referring to this incident two years later, then Assistant Director
William C. Everhart wrote, "The rangers, including a number of seasonal
employees, were desperately trying to handle a situtaion for which they
were ill equipped by reason of training, equipment and ideology. Should
another disturbance occur, however, it will be treated differently. "(6)
In spite of this clear demonstration of the need to reassess the role
law enforcement should be playing in the Park Service and the training
and authority park rangers should be given to become effective people
managers, these developments would be slow in coming as the Service
attempted to structure these changes and avoid the possibility of an
independent "police" subculture evolving within the ranger ranks.
Ranger at Sequoia/Kings Canyon explains
back-country regulations to a group of hikers. Photo by Richard Frear.
Throughout the history of the Park Service the image of the ranger
had been that of a dedicated naturalist or historian protecting a
treasured resource and providing services to the public. This image was
accepted by the rangers, the Park Service and by the public as a whole.
A metamorphosis of the ranger's role to include police training and
functions would be threatening to many within the system and any changes
would have to produce a minimal impact on this positive ranger image in
order to be accepted.
In spite of the general trepidation about a "police" subculture, it
was clear to many that change would have to take place. As noted in a
1970 survey conducted by the U. S. Park Police, "...if we do not deal
effectively with this problem (violators annoying visitors) the camper
who brings his family may be persuaded not to visit the National
Parks...."(7) The same survey noted that the Park Service had not
recruited personnel who had the training or desire to engage in law
enforcement and that many who were already in the service did not want
to accept the role of "cops" in the parks. These were rangers who were
ill equipped by reason of "ideology" to whom Assistant Director Everhart
had referred. Thus, the seeds of resistance to change were already
In order to accomplish its expanding people management function, the
Park Service had to overcome three major problems: There was a lack of
clear statutory authority, law enforcement guidelines, and standards of
behavior; there was a general reticence to make a greater law
enforcement role part of the park ranger's responsibilities; and, if and
when this greater role evolved, it had to be prevented from dominating
the park ranger's total identity.
Changes in Statutory Authority
Prior to 1976, the statutory authority allowing rangers to enforce
regulations in Park Service areas was very vague and did not give
expressed permission to carry firearms or make arrests for federal
crimes.(8) The most significant change in Park Service law enforcement
authority to date came in the form of Congressional action signed into
law in 1976. Public Law 94-458 (16 USC, Section la) was known as the
"General Authorities Act"; it clearly established the power of the
Secretary of the Interior to designate certain employees to "maintain
law and order and to protect persons and property within the areas of
the National Park system."(9) For the first time certain park employees
(i.e., rangers) were authorized to carry firearms, make arrests, serve
warrants, and conduct investigations in the absence of, or in
cooperation with, other federal law enforcement agencies.
The General Authorities Act also laid to rest a movement which
surfaced during this period when the ranger's role was under transition.
Many in the Park Service felt that police tasks could be contracted out
to local law enforcement agencies. By having police and sheriff's
deputies patrol the parks, it would enable the rangers to engage in
traditional ranger activities, to manage the resources and preserve
their friendly image among the visitors. Strong feelings arose both for
and against the contract law enforcement notion, but the issue was
resolved by the General Authorities Act; it mandated that the Park
Service "...shall not authorize the delegation of law enforcement
responsibilities of the agency to State and local governments..." except
to supplement rangers in cases of emergencies.
Still others believed that the traditional social ambassador role of
the park ranger could be preserved by expanding the U. S. Park Police
and giving them primary responsibility for law enforcement in the
parks.(10) With the implementation of the General Authorities Act and
the changing role of the park ranger, this movement, like contract law
enforcement, would never become a reality.
Although Public Law 94-458 clearly established a law enforcement role
for park rangers, the legislators who enacted it were sensitive to the
general concern that the new authority might pave the way for the
development of a "police" subculture within the park system. In the
House Report accompanying the act, Congress was very clear in its intent
that the new law enforcement responsibilities were not to encompass the
total activities of park rangers; rather, they were to engage in law
enforcement only in conjunction with their other traditional
responsibilities.(11) This Congressional caveat also reflected the
central theme of the Park Service in its effort to develop and adjust to
a law enforcement function which the times had mandated.
The Law Enforcement Subculture
With the passage of the General Authorities Act, renewed concern
developed in the Park Service over the impact of the law enforcement
role on the park ranger. Lines were drawn between those who welcomed law
enforcement as a tool for managing people in the parks and those were
were concerned about the possibility of the new authority nurturing a
"police image" among rangers. This feeling that law enforcement duties
could interfere with the other ranger functions was expressed by then
Director Gary Everhardt in 1976 in a memorandum stating that he believed
some parks had let their law enforcement activites get out of balance
with other ranger functions. Everhardt stressed the importance of
adequate law enforcement without detracting from other traditional
Conversely, others saw the new authority as a definition of the role
the ranger was to play in the protection of parks and their visitors. In
a number of parks (especially those with exclusive and concurrent
jurisdiction) rangers had been required to enforce laws with vague
authority and with little assistance from local police agencies.(13)
Many of these rangers welcomed the clear authority to deal with the
"increasing criminal activity on visitor-oriented federal lands."(14)
Some parks were beginning to experience the same types of crimes that
had plagued only urban areas in the past, and in some areas a sense of
urgency was developing that positive steps should be taken to deal with
the problem. During this period the name Ken Patrick was central to any
discussion of the problems of crime in the parks. While making a traffic
stop, ranger Patrick was shot to death in 1973 by a felon at Point Reyes
The Gun Issue
It is certainly true that this type of crime in the national park
system was not commonplace and that rangers enforcing regulations are
rarely in fear for their lives, but the incident did present a strong
argument for insuring that rangers were adequately trained and equipped
to deal with the most dangerous situations. Nonetheless, in the years
that followed Patrick's death, the debate over the appropriate law
enforcement role for the ranger continued to grow. One of the focal
points for this debate centered around the issue of wearing sidearms;
the gun became the symbol for people on both sides of the debate.
In June 1975 Chester Brooks, then Mid-Atlantic regional director,
issued a memorandum asking all park superintendents in the region to
submit a "list of justifications wherein it is essential for employees
to wear sidearms and defensive equipment."( 16) This memorandum was
followed by another in which Brooks stated that the sidearm was not to
become a "standard item of the uniform" and referred to the wearing of
sidearms as exhibiting a "hard" law enforcement image. Brooks included
in his memorandum a quotation from one of his superintendents which read
in part "...the ranger who wants to wear a sidearm to fulfill an image
of himself as a 'law officer' is, in our judgment, not measuring up to
the ranger image or the goals of the Service."(17)
In 1976 there was an incident which clearly demonstrated the
polarization of attitudes concerning the role law enforcement was to
play in the Park Service, and again sidearms were the focus of
attention. To assist the park rangers with crowd control during the July
4th Freedom Week festivities at Philadelphia's Independence National
Historical Park, an eight-man team of rangers was brought in from Fort
McHenry, where they had been temporarily assigned to handle the
celebration there, as well as a team of 40 rangers from the Southeast,
Southwest and Mid- Atlantic regions. These two teams were summoned to
respond to a "law enforcement emergency," and because of what they
perceived as the nature of their assignments, these rangers felt they
should be armed at all times.(18)
However, the staff at Independence and the Mid-Atlantic regional
director felt that the situation did not require arming rangers during
daylight hours. The team members were told to comply with the weapons
policy or go home.(19) They stayed, but according to the report filed
after the event, they "...worked out much less effectively."(20) Whether
that assertion is true or not is, of course, open to debate.
Nonetheless, the situation did clearly demonstrate the difference of
opinion as to what the NPS ranger "image" should project.
The Ranger Image Task Force
In an attempt to resolve some of the dilemmas created by the changing
law enforcement role of the park ranger, then Director Gary Everhardt
established a special task force in 1976 to study the image of the park
ranger and to "...formulate a policy statement and define appropriate
procedures..." for carrying out the law enforcement mission. The purpose
of this task force, headed by Western Regional Director Howard Chapman
was to define the role of the ranger so that the specialized skills
required for law enforcement could be developed without creating a
police subculture within the Park Service.
Rangers and park police confront demonstrators
at Minute Man bicentennial ceremonies in April of 1975. Photo by National Park Service.
This task force involved itself with issues very broad in scope and
not only attempted to define the role of the ranger and the relationship
of law enforcement to that role, but also made recommendations
pertaining to equipment, training, reporting procedures, and the
perceived impact of police functions on the park system as a whole.(21)
In striving for this balance between law enforcement and the other
ranger responsibilities, the task force made certain recommendations
which were thought by some to conflict with specialized law enforcement
functions. A few of these conflicts involved suggested modifications of
police equipment specifications to fit perceived organizational image
requirements of low key law enforcement. As usual, the wearing of
firearms was one of the more emotional issues in the debate over the
ranger image. This time it centered around a report recommendation that
all sidearms have a barrel length of two inches in order to make them
less noticeable to the public.(22)
Another conflict arose from the recommendation that the park ranger
badge, which had been part of the uniform since 1916, should be worn by
only those rangers qualified to engage in law enforcement activities. Of
course, this meant that superintendents, interpreters, resource managers
and other uniformed personnel not qualified to enforce the law would
have to give up their badges. The complaints about this proposed change
and the fears about a burgeoning law enforcement subculture were
immediate and predictable, and the recommendation was never
In response to the task force report, Western region solicited the
assistance of a consultant to evaluate the park ranger image vis a vis
his/her law enforcement role. Again guns became an issue: this report
countered the two-inch barrel recommendation with some documentation
that four-inch revolvers were superior and preferred by 88% of
supervisors and rangers in the region. The same poll indicated that 100%
of these rangers preferred to wear handcuffs on the belt instead of in
the pocket, as was the policy at several parks in the region.(23)
In spite of some controversial points, the Law Enforcement Task Force
made several good recommendations concerning the expansion of the
ranger's law enforcement reponsibilities; it pointed the way toward many
good solutions and suggested several viable options for future law
enforcement planning. In April 1977, the report was approved by Director
The GAO Report
In 1976, those supporting a greater law enforcement role for the park
ranger received unexpected support from a General Accounting Office
(GAO) Report on "Crime in Federal Recreation Areas." This report was
based on a study of six governmental agencies which administer federal
recreation areas, including the National Park Service. The report
concluded that crime in these areas was a serious problem and that
agencies responsible for protecting the visitors should "...develop and
implement a program for visitor protection which has as its objective
the protection of the visitors and their property."(24) The report also
suggested that these programs include law enforcement services to
visitors, guidelines and standards (including philosophies, objectives
and procedures), information systems, procedures for recruiting and
promoting competent people, and adequate training and equipment for law
In his response to the report, Director Everhardt questioned the
finding of the GAO that crime in the national parks was a "serious
problem" throughout the system, and he suggested that the recentlypassed
General Authorities Act had given the Park Service sufficient law
enforcement athority to deal with law enforcement problems in its areas.
Furthermore, Everhardt pointed out that the claims of the GAO could
instill in the public unwarranted fears about visiting the park
Despite any doubts about the validity of the GAO report, it was not
long after it was issued that the Park Service began to reevaluate the
training of its law enforcment personnel. In 1978 the Federal Law
Enforcement Training Center developed a nine-week law enforcement
curriculum called "Basic Law Enforcement for Land Management Agencies",
the purpose of which was to provide a basic 360 hours of police training
to all land management personnel with enforcement responsibility,
including National Park Service rangers. The Federal Law Enforcement
Training Center had evolved in 1970 as a joint interagency effort to
provide quality police training for federal officers faced with the
increasing law enforcement demands of the 1970s. The center got its
start in Washington D.C. as the Consolidated Federal Law Enforcement
Training Center. In 1974 it dropped "Consolidated" from its name and
moved to Glynco, Georgia, where it is currently located.
Park Ranger Law Enforcement Commissions
With the passage of the General Authorities Act in 1976 the Park
Service moved to clarify who among its seasonal and permanent personnel
would be given the authority to engage in law enforcement activities.
Since 1974, the Service had issued "C Cards" to certain employees,
designating them as law enforcement qualified. In 1976 this system was
disbanded when Acting Director William Briggle issued an order which
established two levels of law enforcement authority. Class I authority
was to be given to all those who held valid "C Cards" and to members of
the U. S. Park Police. Those holding Class I authority would have to
have undergone a minimum of 360 hours of law enforcement training either
at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center or some comparable
institution, or they would have to possess comparable experience. Those
who held Class II law enforcement authority were not intended to be
armed law enforcement officers but would serve to "...help facilitate
the proper management of those park areas which do not have a
substantive law enforcement problem..." by being authorized to issue
citations for minor infractions.(26) The training for Class II authority
was to include a minimum of 40 hours involving specific subject
In 1977, before this new commission system was to go into effect,
Director Everhardt abolished the concept of Class II authority and
approved a recommendation for a minimum requirement of 200 hours of law
enforcement training in 18 subjects to apply to both seasonal and
permanent rangers engaging in law enforcement activities. The relaxing
of the training requirements provided some relief for the park areas,
many of which were facing the prospect of inadequate staffing for their
law enforcement needs. In 1980 the law enforcement commission underwent
yet another change when the Service established a system of three levels
of law enforcement authority. The full commission was to require 360
hours of training as developed by the Federal Law Enforcement Training
Center, and those holding it were authorized to carry out all the law
enforcement functions granted them by the 1976 General Authorities Act.
The new "seasonal law enforcement commission would require 200 hours of
approved law enforcement training and would authorize its holder to
carry firearms, make arrests and conduct investigations of minor
incidents only. This seasonal law enforcement training is provided at no
expense to the Park Service by a handful of approved colleges and
universities across the country. The new park protection commission
would be similar to the old Class II commission; the required training
would be the same and those holding it would be employed to supplement
law enforcement efforts by authorizing them to write citations for minor
Seasonal law enforcement training at schools
like Memphis State (top) prepare rangers for field law enforcement activities
such as this traffic stop at Shenandoah (bottom). Photos by Bill Dwyer (top) and Bob Panko
The present system of three levels of law enforcement authority has
been in effect for four years and seems to be working quite well for the
parks. During this time it has undergone only slight modifications: the
200 hour seasonal training requirement has been increased to 245 hours,
and seasonal rangers are now authorized to become involved in the
Resolution of the Gun Issue
As we have pointed out, the issue of sidearms often dominated the
debates and decisions about the role of law enforcement in the Park
Service during the 1970s. In 1975 the Service issued NPS-9, a
comprehensive set of guidelines on how law enforcement in the National
Parks was to be conducted.(27) The section on firearms skirted the issue
of whether or not law enforcement rangers should wear them by giving
individual superintendents considerable discretion in determining how
and when they would be worn. Thus, rangers with law enforcement
responsibilities in some parks wore sidearms all the time, in other
parks they were to wear them only after sunset, and in still other parks
they were not to wear them at all. Of course, these variations kept the
issue of sidearms alive, even after the passage of the General
Authorities Act. During these years it was common for the topic of
sidearms to be raised at law enforcement in-service training sessions,
with many rangers wanting to know why they were not trusted with the
carrying of service revolvers "as part of their uniforms."
In 1980 the Park Service put the gun issue to rest with the issuance
of a revision of NPS-9 which, among other topics, mandated that all
rangers engaged in law enforcement activities will be armed.(28) Since
then, all the rhetoric about guns has virtually disappeared, and no
significant ill effects of the revised policy have surfaced.
Enforcement in the '80s: Some Important Issues To Address
The decade of the '70s witnessed a rapid growth in the law
enforcement role of the park ranger. The Service addressed a need to
become more responsive to the problems created by those who, for
whatever reason, choose not to abide by the legal and moral guidelines
society has established to facilitate its members getting along with
each other. This particular element of society seems to be on the
increase, even in our national parks. Navigating in previously uncharted
waters, the Service moved to fill the need for better law enforcement
and visitor protection while at the same time working to keep the law
enforcement role in its proper perspective.
Certainly, the underlying theme of a meaningful park experience has
to be one of perceived personal freedom, and were the Service to allow
the development of a police subculture within its ranks it would be
jeopardizing one of the very reasons it was established. In retrospect,
it appears that the Park Service was successful in achieving both its
goals, and, as a group, the rangers of the '80s have incorporated their
law enforcement responsibilities into their overall roles with a
perspective and a maturity that must appear admirable, even to the most
To be sure, the Service still has a way to go. One of the
recommendations of a follow-up report the General Accounting Office
issued in 1982 was that "to the extent feasible (the Service should)
remove manpower, resource and policy constraints which impede efficient
and effective law enforcement efforts by giving emphasis and support to
prevention activities. "(29) The Service is now in the second phase of
this role change. The law enforcement rhetoric has subsided, the issues
which generated so much disagreement have died away, and the rangers are
left with a new set of skills and attitudes that have prepared them to
be more effective people managers and keepers of the peace. Whether they
are truly prepared for what the future will bring to the parks in the
way of deviant behavior, only time will tell. In our judgment, however,
the appropriate groundwork has already been laid.
Yet some very important issues still remain to be dealt with. One of
these involves the burgeoning area of civil liability stemming from
activity (or lack of activity) in the law enforcement sphere. As an
example, the Park Service does not require that its law enforcement
personnel be certified to be free from any psychological disorders that
would interfere with their law enforcement duties. It is only a matter
of time before this oversight will become a very costly issue in a
vicarious negligence lawsuit in civil court.
The Service should also be taking a closer look at the concept of the
visitor's "reasonable expectation of security." As a public entity which
invites the visitors to its premises, the Service assumes some of the
responsibility for the safety of their persons and property. Certainly
this does not mean that the Park Service should ever become the complete
insurer of their visitors, but in situations where harm or loss is
foreseeable (such as the car cloutings that occur year after year), it
is possible that some liability could be established. Thus, developments
like the "Circle of Parks" effort among some of the western parks to
reduce car clouting is a step in the right direction. Space does not
permit a detailed examination of civil liability as it could be applied
to park settings, but suffice it to say that the area is growing rapidly
and contains a great deal of very sobering information for park
There are several other issues that need to be dealt with as we
continue through the '80s and enter the 1990s; among them are:
standardization of law enforcement training, needs-based 40-hour
refresher courses, compilation and dissemination of unique Park Service
law enforcement incidents which would have value in training and
in-service training, visitor abuse of alcohol, better methods for
handling juvenile offenders, contingency plans for providing adequate
protection in the face of shrinking budgets and manpower, and better
strategies for achieving affirmative action goals. It has been said in
many circles that, for the Service, the '80s will be the decade of
resources protection. Certainly no one would disagree with that, but
neither does it mean that it won't also be a decade of people
management. With over 300 million visitors to its areas each year, the
job of managing people is here to stay. So far we appear to be holding
1. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Law
Enforcement Guidelines NPS-9, 1975, p. 1.
2. U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service,
"Evolution of the National Park Service Ranger," Horace M. Albright
Training Center, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 1964.
3. U. S. General Accounting Office Report to Congress, "Crime in
Federal Recreation Areas," June 21, 1977.
4. Everhart, William E. (1972) 77je National Park Service, New York:
Praeger Press, p. 222.
5. Ibid., p. 224.
6. Ibid., p. 225.
7. McEwen, Walter R. and Wells, Jerry L. (1970) "Law Enforcement in
the National Parks," U. S. Park Police Survey, p. 6. 8. Bliss, Donald
T., U. S. Comptroller Report to James A. Haley, House Committee on
Interior and Insular Affairs, July 20, 1976.
9. Title 16 United States Code, Section 1(a)(3).
10. Tobin, Daniel J., Jr., Superintendent, Mount Rainier National
Park, Memorandum to Howard H. Chapman, Western Regional Director,
National Park Service, "Law Enforcement Task Force Report," March 15,
11. House Report 11887 to accompany Public law 94-458, September 16,
12. Everhardt, Gary (1976) Memorandum to all employees, "Law
Enforcement in the National Park Service," August 13.
13. Kyi, John (1976) Report to James A. Haley, House Committee on
Interior and Insular Affairs, VII: Law Enforcement, April 8.
14. Bliss, Donald T. (1976) U. S. Comptroller General Report to James
A. Haley, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, July 20.
15. Verando, Denzil (1980) "Park Rangers and Law Enforcement," The
California Peace Officer, p. 30.
16. Brooks, Chester (1975) Memorandum to Mid-Atlantic Region
Superintendents, "Use of Sidearms in Law Enforcement," July 27.
17. Brooks, Chester (1975) Memorandum to Mid-Atlantic Region
Superintendents, "Use of Sidearms in Law Enforcement," August 5.
18. O'Guin, Richard (1976) Memorandum to Mid-Atlantic Regional
Director, "Law Enforcement Emergency, Freedom Week, June 27 to July 7,
1976," p. 2.
19. Ibid., p. 2.
20. Ibid., p. 4.
21. Law Enforcement Task Force Report, Howard H. Chapman, Chairman
(1977) Memorandum to Director, National Park Service, "Law Enforcement
Task Force Report," March 15.
22. Ibid., Recommendations Summary, p. 4.
23. Muehleisen, Gene S. (1977) Law Enforcement Task Force Assessment,
24. U. S. General Accounting Office Report to Congress (1977) "Crime
in Federal Recreation Areas," June 21, p. iv.
25. Everhardt, Gary (1977) Memorandum to Assistant Secretary of the
Interior, "General Accounting Office Report On Crime In Federal
Recreation Areas," March 1.
26. Briggle, William (1976) Memorandum to all Regional Directors and
Director, National Capital Parks, "Law Enforcement Authority," October
27. National Park Service Law Enforcement Guideline, NPS-9, 1975.
28. National Park Service Law Enforcement Guideline, Revised,
29. U. S. General Accounting Office Report to the Secretaries of
Agriculture and the Interior (1982), "Illegal and Unauthorized Activites
On Public Lands A Problem With Serious Implications."
30. Dwyer, W. O. & Murrell, D. S. (1985) "Security Negligence In
Recreation Areas," Parks & Recreation, 20, No. L, 68-72.