“Fifty percent of our parks are so critically understaffed that they aren’t safe. Fifty percent!” – RPPOA President Matt Yarbrough, State Parks Ranger
SACRAMENTO – California State Parks rangers with the Resource Protection Peace Officers Association (RPPOA) have major public safety concerns for park visitors and rangers, and the perceived lack of concern by State Parks management.
"We’re at the breaking point. We’ve gone beyond less. We can’t do it anymore,” said RPPOA Director and Ranger Nate Smith. “We are spread thinner and thinner at a time when park visitation is up. We can’t respond in a timely manner and we don’t have the safety equipment.”
For a look at public safety concerns as viewed by rangers who are sworn to protect and serve the public, we invite you to watch the video presentation below:
The RPPOA board said questions park visitors should be asking the California Department of Parks and Recreation are:
Where are the rangers?
What is the minimal staffing at a given park?
Will my call to 911 be answered?
What is the typical response time?
Can I take my family to this park and feel safe?
The rangers have their own question for Parks management, which include:
What is the department doing to recruit and retain rangers?
Why are some rangers issued tasers, while others are not?
What is being done to purchase safety equipment and emergency response vehicles?
What is being done to recruit and retain State Parks communications operators?
What is being done to reduce response time and increase public and officer safety?
“We’re calling for the equipment and staffing to protect people in California’s State Parks,” said Yarbrough. “We are out there on our own, covering a vast area where crimes do occur. We need back-up, we need more rangers who are familiar with the parks’ geographical features, dangers and the locations that typically attract those who commit crimes. Park visitors deserve to be better protected.”