County Rangers Authority Broadened

According to the Los Angeles Times [reg. req] Orange County’s park rangers have been given the authority to write citations and carry pepper spray.

The civil citations carry fines of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second and $300 for a third. Supervisors asked parks officials to produce a written proposal and timeline for the citation program and suggested they consider fines of less than $100 for minor offenses such as dog-leash violations.

Supervisors said they wanted rangers to continue to build a positive relationship with park visitors and use citations only as a last resort.

“Our rangers have a great relationship with the public,” Campbell said. “I don’t want this to be a fundraiser for Harbor, Beaches and Parks.”

I’ve had no problems with rangers in the past – in fact they’ve been even handed in every situation that I’ve had to deal with them. I just hope this little dose of power doesn’t turn them into dicks.

3 Comments so far

  1. Joel (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2004 @ 7:23 pm

    In general, I find that law enforcement turn into dicks when the people they are speaking with are dicks. (Provided, of course, they are white. If they happen to be black or Latino, the “dickiness” often comes out prematurely.)

    As on who has seen users of our parks blatantly cut trails, exceed speed limits, run their dogs loose through critical wilderness habitat, steal fossils, and litter, I welcome enforcement of the law. The dicks are those who cannot control themselves without these laws, Jason. The rangers are just doing their job.

  2. Jason Cosper (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2004 @ 11:26 am

    Profanity is the crutch of the ignorant. Isn’t it, Joel?

    But I digress… I’ve seen too many people get drunk on the most miniscule bump in power. Still, I’m also disheartened by people who can’t respect our parks and the guidelines put in place that insure that everyone should be able enjoy them. They are the real dicks in the equation.

    I was just hoping that the mall cop mentality didn’t creep into the county’s rangers, that’s all. Poor choice of words? Probably. But I stand by the mistake I made, unapologetic and unflinching.

  3. Joel Sax (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2004 @ 6:40 pm

    I’ve had many talks with rangers. I’ve heard the stories about the people who let their dogs run loose in waterfowl nesting areas of Upper Newport Bay on the grounds that they’ve been doing it for years. I’ve seen people sending their dogs through these areas, I’ve been nearly run over by trail bikes on narrow trails, and I picked up trash.

    I don’t anticipate that my relationship with any ranger will change because of this because I listen to their concerns about the wild. A few mountain bikers in particular will probably start whining about oppression. My course for them will be to walk up and down on the Serrano Cow Trail in Whiting for several hours on a late Friday afternoon and count the number of times they were nearly run down by trail bikers exceeding the 10 mph speed limit. They can see underfoot the damage done by those who cannot stay in a single file line.

    If the Parks Department picks up the money to repair the damage done by these aluminum and titanium locusts, then that’s fine by me. Undoubtably they will complain. The ones who do the damage should pay the costs, IMHO.

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