Crater Lake National Park has seven rangers with authority to carry guns
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
August 02, 2005
By LEE JUILLERAT
Some cities, such as Bonanza, opt to contract for sheriff’s deputies rather than have their own police force, Evinger said.
Sheriff’s deputies patrol counties. The Oregon State Police and California Highway Patrol monitor state highways, and the OSP has additional responsibilities for criminal investigation and enforcement.
When it comes to the law and federal land, enforcement is up to federal officials. For example, Evinger said that, acting as the sheriff of Klamath County, he couldn’t arrest someone for breaking the law in Crater Lake National Park.
The national park has seven rangers who have law enforcement authority and carry guns.
Like their counterparts at the local or state level, federal officials with law enforcement authority go through training in an academy setting. Most of the training for rangers and other land protection officers is done at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glencoe, Ga.
The amount of training varies from agency to agency.
A National Park service ranger spends two to three months in Glencoe before earning a badge, said Mac Brock, a Crater Lake spokesman. Once in the field, the rangers also must take a 40-hour refresher course once each year and pass a shooting test four times each year.
“The training is very rigorous,” he said.
While the shooting Wednesday was the first in memory in Crater Lake National Park, they are not unknown in the national park system.
Greg Johnston, president of the U.S. Park Ranger Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and a ranger at Blueridge Parkway in Virginia, said park rangers are the most frequently assaulted federal law enforcement officers.
Johnston noted that in January 2003, a ranger shot and killed a carjacking suspect at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park in Maryland, and a ranger was shot and killed in August 2002, while chasing drug smugglers on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.
Johnston added that the deadly force policy for park rangers allows them to shoot when they feel they or others are in imminent danger of serious injury or death, and rangers are trained to take into account the danger to the area behind their target.
“In a nutshell, it is when they, or someone else, is threatened with serious, bodily injury or death,” Brock said.
– This story contains material from the Associated Press and H&N Regional Editor Lee Juillerat.