"National Parks Crime Wave"???


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David
January 14, 2003, 07:22 PM
Interesting article from Newsmax.com.

Pretty scary stuff going on in the woods!!!

Does any THR member work was a park ranger?

Our National Parks – Crime's New Frontier
Bruce Mandelblit
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003

Breathtaking landscapes. Exquisite waterways. Majestic mountains.

These are the images most of us have when we think of our vast National Park system.

It appears, sadly, that smugglers, poachers and other criminal thugs have invaded our pristine national treasures.

I had the opportunity to speak with Randall Kendrick, the executive director of the United States Park Ranger Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. Kendrick offered this candid assessment of the problems facing our National Parks:

"It is not the fault of the managers of the National Park Service that several border parks have turned into thoroughfares for the smuggling of illegal drugs and aliens, but our organization does fault the managers for failing to adapt and adjust to these changing circumstances."

The Ranger Lodge recently issued an astonishing report, "The Ten Most Dangerous National Parks." In this report, national parks are rated based upon their dangers to National Park Service rangers. You may not know that, according to the Department of Justice, park rangers are the most assaulted of all federal law enforcement officers.

Here are some highlights from their stunning list:

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona was reported as the most dangerous national park for the second year in a row. This was due to numerous incidents involving international drug trafficking, the inflow of illegal immigrants, and a workforce that is understaffed to safely manage the problem. The park also reported that drug and immigrant smugglers had created miles of illegal roads in the park.

"At Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the law enforcement staff was basically unchanged since the 1960s before there were any incursions across the international boundary. It was well known the numbers of illegal aliens captured in the park and the tonnage of illegal drugs seized, yet management refused to increase the law enforcement staff to safe levels," stated Kendrick.

Even more heartbreaking was the recent ambush and murder of Kristopher Eggle, a 28-year-old park ranger who was shot to death assisting Border Patrol agents trying to apprehend a Mexican murder suspect who had fled into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Eggle, sadly, was the third park ranger shot to death since 1998.

In Texas, the Big Bend National Park is a 1-million-acre park with well over 100 miles of international border that has significant problems with drug smuggling, illegal immigrants, and organized plant and animal poachers.

Also in Texas is the Padre Island National Seashore. Drug smuggling, illegal immigrants, the poaching of endangered turtles and their eggs, and illegal commercial fishing pose a threat to the resources, the visitors and the rangers themselves. In addition, the lack of timely backup for officers in trouble and radio communication problems are issues at this location.

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada and Arizona has ongoing gang activity, and vast areas of backcountry have only cursory patrols. There are fewer park rangers working this year than last, and some of those who remain have been rotated out to provide security at the dams.

In New Jersey, Sandy Hook is a Unit of the Gateway East National Recreation Area, with about 2.5 million annual visitors. There are fewer park rangers than 10 years ago, yet there are more serious incidents for the remaining rangers to handle.

Kendrick added: "The National Park Service is one of the few law enforcement agencies that has employees with little or no background or training in law enforcement to manage this critical program. Staff levels, hours of patrol, investigations and the like are ultimately directed by a person who is not a law enforcement officer and has not had to withstand a background investigation. The National Park Service does not have a separate budget for law enforcement, so when Congress thinks that they are funding park rangers and their training and equipment, quite often much of this money is siphoned off by management for other programs often totally unrelated to law enforcement."

For more information, please log on to: www.rangerfop.com.

A Final Thought: We must strive to take back our extraordinary national parks from the smugglers, poachers, gangsters and other detestable lawbreakers who have brutally invaded some of them. The best way to do this is to supply the necessary assets and crucial assistance that our country's park rangers sincerely need to do their inherently hazardous, and eminently essential, jobs.

These unsung federal law enforcement heroes may sometimes have to do their urgent duties without the ideal staffing levels, reliable radio communications, nearby backup, comprehensive training and modern equipment that most other law officers probably take for granted.

Let's give the men and women law enforcement professionals of the National Park Service what they need, and deserve, to help safeguard our nation's treasured park lands and irreplaceable precious natural resources.

(Note: I am always looking for the newest and most fascinating security, safety and crime-prevention-related products to feature in future Staying Safe columns. If you distribute such items, please e-mail me with details.)
******
Copyright 2003 by Bruce Mandelblit

"Staying Safe" with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of NewsMax.com and NewsMax.com magazine.

Bruce welcomes your security, safety and crime prevention questions. He will answer questions of general interest in his column. CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.

Bruce is a nationally known security specialist, as well as a highly decorated reserve Law Enforcement Officer.

Bruce was recently commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel – the state's highest honor – by Gov. Paul E. Patton – for his public service.

This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.

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Penman
January 14, 2003, 07:56 PM
I've heard that crimes int he parks are often under-reported for public relations concerns that visitor counts might decrease. It's got to be a tough job, to have such a complex mix of people to manage in remote areas.

PageField
January 14, 2003, 09:17 PM
The series of fiction involving Ranger Anna Pidgeon (sp)by Nevada Barr has dealt with these park problems for some years now . I have taken tapes from the library on trips. I need to check for new ones..

ajacobs
January 14, 2003, 10:08 PM
I am a state park ranger, a non law enforcement position in this state. And while VT is probally the safest state in the nation the rate of crime in the parks is often more than in the sorunding community. Not the type of crime talked about in the article more of alchohol and drug related and domestic dispute. Also allot of people choose parks to commit suicide in. Alchohol and camping unfortunatly go hand and hand.

Navy joe
January 14, 2003, 11:24 PM
And whadda ya know, in Federal parks you are disarmed by law! How convienent!

rock jock
January 14, 2003, 11:37 PM
It was well known the numbers of illegal aliens captured in the park and the tonnage of illegal drugs seized.......has significant problems with drug smuggling, illegal immigrants......Drug smuggling, illegal immigrants
See any pattern? Let's hear it for the benign problem of illegal immigration.

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