ATOKA OK May 7 2013 — The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is probing an officer-involved shooting at a state park in Atoka County on Saturday.
“An Oklahoma Department of Parks and Recreation park ranger shot and killed a man when the man attempted to run over the ranger,” the OSBI said in a news release.
Campers told the ranger that David Adam Patrick Maher, 30, had been acting strangely and causing a disturbance at McGree State Park.
When the ranger approached Maher, he ran to his vehicle and attempted to hit the ranger, the agency said.
Maher’s last known residence was in New York.
Source: Norfolk Daily News
BAKERSFIELD, Calif March 12 2013— Park rangers at Hart Park shot a man and woman Saturday night after they the duo allegedly tried to hit one of the rangers with their stolen car. The man and woman were taken to Kern Medical Center and treated for their non-lethal gunshot wounds.
Columbus OH Feb 14 2013
The Metro Parks board didn’t say yes to guns for rangers at yesterday’s meeting, but it didn’t say no either.
That commissioners were willing to further study the idea gave rangers hope that they might eventually be allowed to carry firearms, as do their counterparts in other metropolitan park districts in Ohio.
“This is a very challenging and deep issue,” said Jeff McNealey, the board’s chairman.
Last month, Tracy Rader of the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council, repeated a request made in 2011 to arm rangers. It was spurred by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.
Without firearms, rangers are at a disadvantage, Rader said. “They can’t be there to respond to a madman,” she said during the meeting at Glacier Ridge Metro Park in Union County.
Rader said the public already thinks that rangers are armed.
“They don’t even carry Tasers,” she said. “You assume that they are armed, and they’re not.”
Rangers are to call police when needed, then, “They have to stand there and wait,” she said.
Metro Parks rangers carry pepper spray. Rangers at state parks carry guns, as do rangers in Cleveland and Hamilton County metro parks.
The state legislature even allows park visitors to carry firearms, which concerns McNealey.
Metro Parks Executive Director John O’Meara opposes guns for rangers, believing their mission should be customer service.
Board member Greg Lashutka said there needs to be more discussion. “There is a balancing act,” he said.
PHOENIX AZ FEB 8 2013(AP) — A Phoenix man convicted of assaulting two law enforcement officers at the Grand Canyon has been sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison.
Prosecutors say 43-year-old Anthony Keith Swint was given a 33-month sentence Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
Swint was found guilty last September by a federal jury in Prescott on two counts of assault on a federal officer.
Authorities say Swint was driving a tractor-trailer that got stuck near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon last March 21.
Park rangers were called to get Swint’s rig back on the road. They say Swint cursed at the rangers and then fought with them.
Swint was accused of kicking both of the National Park rangers and biting one officer as they were trying to detain him.
Someone had called 911 to report that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ranger was being assaulted, the sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said.
After responding to the scene, investigators later learned that alleged assault happened while the ranger was patrolling the park and spotted a group of people with alcohol beverages in a prohibited area, Sgt. Wilbanks said.
While issuing a citation for the offense, the ranger was physically attacked by one of the subjects,” he said. “After being struck multiple times, the ranger deployed pepper spray against the subject to end the assault.”
Deputies arrested Mr. Charlie Brown Jordan, of Suwanee, and transported him to the Hall County Jail.
So far, Mr. Jordan has been charged with obstruction of an officer, but a federal hold has been placed on the 24-year-old until the Corps of Engineers Rangers can file their own charges, Sgt. Wilbanks said.
Deputies have not released the ranger’s name, any details of his injuries or his condition.
Mr. Tim Rainey, the Corps’ operations manager at Lake Lanier, said the attack happened after the agency had to reassign shoreline rangers to working the parks because of increased rowdiness and crowds, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Tacoma WA July 16 2012 Starting Monday, anyone caught feeding wildlife in Tacoma parks will be issued a $532 citation.
Aggressive animals have become a bit of a problem at the park and in other parts of Western Washington. Last week a jogger was attacked by raccoons.
Park officials are trying to protect both the wildlife and people with increased enforcement.
“I’ve sat here in this park and had raccoons, wild raccoons, come just walk right up to me and sit at my feet,” said park visitor Vinks McIntire.
McIntire says he never feeds the animals, but he’s seen plenty of other people do it.
“I have gone out and pointed out the signs to people who do this,” he said.
The signs have been up for years, but the Metro Parks Tacoma is taking their enforcement to another level. They’ve contracted with Tacoma Police to put officers in the parks. People caught feeding the animals face the possibility of a $532 dollar fine, but police say that’s not the goal
“Mainly an educator, educating the visitors on the law the safety the dangers of it the hazards of it,” said Officer Gerry Turney.
It can lead to overpopulation and take a toll on the health of the animals.
“They’re supposed to be nocturnal but when people feed them during the day they break up their normal natural habits,” said Marina Becker, Parks Superintendent.
On Monday, off-duty police officers will begin to conduct focused patrols at random times, with special enforcement efforts in parks where chronic feeding and overpopulation issues persist.
ABRAMS CREEK TN July 5 2012 - Officials in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park say at least two people are dead after storms ripped through Thursday evening.
A park spokesperson says a woman died at Abrams Creek campground after being struck by a falling tree.
They say a man was killed after wrecking his motorcycle near the Townsend Wye. The identities of both victims are being withheld while authorities notify family members.
Others had to wait hours to receive treatment for their injuries. Eight hours after the most intense storm, park rangers were still trying to reach visitors trapped at Cades Cove.
Many roads and trails in the Smokies remain closed because of hundreds of downed trees especially along the Little River and Laurel Creek Roads.
An incident command post, along with a Red Cross shelter, was established in Townsend. Evacuations were expected to last throughout Friday morning.
ORLANDO, Fla. July 4 2012 - It’s a no-carb diet for the Lake Eola swans, according to park rangers.
Orlando city officials have put up signs asking Lake Eola visitors to not feed the swans bread. Instead, three coin-operated feeders will be installed around the lake in the coming weeks.
Orlando nanny Laureen Munfus told Local 6 she didn’t notice the new swan signs.
“The kids when they have their sandwiches, they don’t like the rims so we always save those for the birds,” she said.
Park rangers are asking visitors to stop giving bread to the swans.
“It binds the swans up, basically constipates them, and it also- the yeast in it is not good for the lake as well,” said Chris Wallace, park manager.
In the past year, there’s growing concern over the swan’s health.
“We’ve seen people bring in all kinds of food, from bringing baloney, and hot dogs,” he said.
Last summer, a black neck swan died after eating too much popcorn, Wallace said.
There’s no fine for breaking the swan’s no-carb diet, rather park rangers are hoping people will comply by giving swans lettuce, spinach, and farm pellets instead.
The feeders are expected to be up July 12, but in the meantime, park rangers are passing out brochures that tell visitors what they can bring to feed the swans.
The National Park Service identified the ranger as Nick Hall, 34, from Maine. Rangers said Hall fell from the 13,700 foot level to about 10,000 feet on the mountain’s northeast side while helping the injured climbers evacuate the mountain by helicopter.
One climber remains on the mountain Friday morning, forced to spend the night there with rescue crews following the accident. She will come down the mountian under her own power, unless weather permits another helicopter rescue attempt, said Ranger Kevin Bacher.
The accident that killed Hall happened just before 2 p.m. Thursday. In all, four climbers, two women and two men, were scaling down the mountain along the Emmons Glacier route when the two women slipped and fell into a crevasse.
One of the climbers in the group had a working cell phone and called park rangers. Rrescue crews located the climbing group and began to rescue the women out of the crevasse.
All four climbers were injured, but none of their injuries were life-threatening.
It was reportedly while harnessing one of the injured climbers to a Chinook helicopter that Hall slid to his death.
The helicopter was able to evacuated three of the climbers to safety, but inclement weather and the accident that killed Hall halted the rescue operation. Rescue personnel spent the night with the one remaining climber on the mountain.
The four climbers are from Waco, Texas and successfully summited the mountain before the incident. Their names will be released once all four families have been notified.
Ranger Nick Hall is a 4-year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park’s climbing program and a native of Patten, Maine.
“Nick…has been part of the team that’s been up there on the mountian keeping people safe and bringing people out for a long time. He’s a valued member of our team,” said Ranger Bacher.
Mount Rainier posted a picture of the Climbing Ranger Team on their Flickr page Friday. Nick Hall is pictured at the far left.
The Dubuque County sheriff’s office says park patrol officers found James Hopkins’ body on Monday about four to five miles south of Massey Marina south of Dubuque. An autopsy is pending.
Hopkins was last seen around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, fishing from shore. He’d been camping with relatives at Massey Marina Park.
The sheriff’s office says family members reported Hopkins had been drinking and that his clothes were found near his fishing spot.
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a 30-year-old man believed missing in the Mississippi River south of Dubuque.
The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office identified him as James Hopkins, of Dubuque.
Several agencies have been searching since Hopkins was reported missing. Authorities say he was last seen around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, fishing from shore. He’d been camping with relatives at Massey Marina Park.
The sheriff’s office says family members reported Hopkins had been drinking and that his clothes were found near his fishing spot.
GATLINBURG TN June 12 2012 - A woman who was stabbed and sexually assaulted Friday in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is out of the hospital. Authorities have not found the suspect.
The woman, who’s 44, was attacked on the Gatlinburg Trail Friday afternoon. She received multiple stab wounds to her neck, shoulder and hand.
Officials said she made her way from the trail to Highway 441 and flagged down a visitor, who reported the incident.
The woman was flown to UT Medical Center and released on Sunday night.
National Park Service Special Agents continued to investigate the case over the weekend. They’re working with the victim to create a sketch of the suspect.
The suspect is described as white, around 5’7″, appearing to be in his 40s, with a thin build, a crew cut and a thin mustache. He wore black dress pants and a T-shirt. He also has multiple tattoos, including one on his stomach, and no distinctive accent.
Anyone with any information about this incident should call the park dispatch emergency line at 865-436-9197.
Nashville TN June 10 2012 Leigh Little won’t be returning to Cedar Hill Park near Madison after having her purse stolen last month. And she’s not sure about Nashville’s other parks either, after she got to thinking about some of the high-profile crimes within the past 12 months.
At Centennial Park, a woman was robbed and there was a gang shooting during a movie night.
“I don’t feel safe. I would love to go to the parks more often,” said Little, 26, of Brentwood. “We’re knocking out parks left and right.”
Despite her uneasiness, Nashville’s 115 parks have seen a drop in crime since 2007, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation statistics. And police say the parks are relatively safe. There were 40 reported violent crimes in the parks in 2011. That same year, in all of Davidson County, there were 25,000 violent crimes reported. The agency does not break down its crime statistics by park.
Metro Parks Police acknowledge residents are wary of some parks after hearing about criminal activity there. And the recent news that the Kurdish Pride gang has virtually taken over Paragon Mills Park in South Nashville hasn’t done much to help that image either.
Parks police, while technically operating under the Metro Department of Parks and Recreation, get their policing powers from the Metro Police Department and are subject to its rules and regulations.
“We’ve had some things happen,” said Parks Police Capt. Chris Taylor. “About — it seems once a month — for the past couple months, we’ve had something high profile pop up.”
Most recently, it was a Memorial Day fracas between two homeless men grappling over food. One man was stabbed in the fight and hospitalized. The other was arrested on an aggravated assault charge.
In February, a 63-year-old woman who was opening up William Pitts Park was carjacked and slashed outside the park gates.
She survived the attack, and her attacker was arrested.
Perhaps the highest-profile crime happened June 3, 2011. During a Movies at the Park event at Centennial Park, at least one suspected gang member opened fire on a crowd, injuring a teen in the knee. The day before, the gang had threatened on Twitter to turn the event into a “gun range.” No one has been arrested in the shooting.
And just this week, Metro police filed suit to ban suspected members of the Kurdish Pride gang from Paragon Mills Park, where they were holding regular meetings. The gang also may be banned from another nearby park, Providence Park, if Metro succeeds in the lawsuit.
Keep valuables stored out of sight
Taylor’s officers use patrol cars, bicycles, foot patrols, ATVs and sometimes even horses to try to keep parks safe. The parks are open from dawn until 11 p.m. and Taylor said most of the violent crimes happen after hours.
Property crimes rather than violent personal crimes are far more common in the parks, Taylor said.
“Our property crimes are more of an issue that we deal with ongoing,” Taylor said.
“People will park, and when they bring things to the park, they will leave things out in the open. People just haven’t gotten the message that you need to secure your valuables.”
Little said she feels silly about leaving her purse on the floor behind her passenger seat. But still, she was shocked and scared to return that night after a game of softball to find her window smashed out and her purse — including credit card — gone. Another person she plays with had her car broken into as well and two days later, Metro Parks Police responded to four more vehicle burglaries in that very same park.
Police recommend that park visitors never leave valuables in plain sight. Instead, lock up laptops, purses and other items in your trunk.
Little says she doesn’t doubt police are doing everything they can to protect people in Nashville’s parks. And she didn’t dispute that crime may be low at those locations.
But for her, becoming a victim trumps numbers, even if it means leaving the park where she trained for her half-marathon.
“It’s scary,” she said. “I won’t go there anymore. I refuse to run there anymore.”
Another trap was designed to trip a passer-by into a bed of sharpened wooden stakes, authorities said.
Two men arrested over the weekend on suspicion of misdemeanor reckless endangerment told authorities the traps were intended for wildlife, but investigators didn’t believe the story.
The suspects built a dead-wood shelter as a possible lure for hikers who could step inside only through the two booby-trapped entrances, Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.
“This is a shelter put together by people, visited by people — anything that would be impacted by their device would have to be humans,” Cannon said. “It took some time to build these traps. They took rope, heavy-duty fishing line, and they intended what the traps were going to do.”
The structure was easy to see, Cannon said, but the booby traps could have been overlooked by everyone except a military-trained officer like James Schoeffler of the U.S. Forest Service, who was on a routine patrol along Big Springs Trail last week when he noticed the trip wires.
“A lot of people go up there after dark, as well,” Cannon said. “We’re very, very fortunate that it was Officer Schoeffler who found it.”
The U.S. Forest Service has not made Schoeffler available for an interview. Authorities said he disabled the traps after taking photos and video of the site.
The area is located in Provo Canyon, a popular hiking spot a few miles from downtown Provo. Cannon said the traps were just a half-mile from a busy trailhead.
“Who goes up this trail thinking, I’m going to have to look out for booby traps?” Cannon said. “A kid could say, ‘Oh cool, a shelter,’ and run right across the trip line.”
Days after Schoeffler made the discovery, a tipster alerted authorities about comments on Facebook that mentioned the traps and the shelter. Detectives then tracked down the suspects, Cannon said.
Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 19, of Orem and Kai Matthew Christensen, 21, of Provo were booked in the Utah County Jail on Saturday and released on bail.
Prosecutors believed the misdemeanor reckless endangerment allegations were the strongest claims they could pursue without anyone being injured. Charges have not yet been filed.
Rutkowski’s father, Steven, declined comment. No phone number was listed for Christensen, and it wasn’t immediately clear if either suspect had an attorney.
GULF SHORES, Alabama Sept 22 2011 — Police arrested four people after locating a meth lab in a tent in the Alabama Gulf State Park, officials said today.
Shawn McMullen was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and trafficking in methamphetamine. (Baldwin County Corrections photo)
Gulf Shores patrol officers and narcotics investigators found the lab at the park campground at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sgt. Jason Woodruff said. Woodruff said the lab was in a tent pitched on one of the campground sites.
Woodruff said the lab was being used to manufacture methamphetamine at the time officers located the site.
Shawn Eugene McMullen, 37, of Robertsdale; Stephanie Lynn Harbison, 24, of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Joshua Eugene McMullen, 18, of Gulf Shores were each charged with first-degree unlawful manufacture of controlled substance and trafficking in methamphetamine, according to a Gulf Shores police statement.
The three were being held in the Baldwin County Corrections Center with their bail set at $1.02 million, according to jail records.
A 16-year-old girl was also arrested and charged with first-degree unlawful manufacture of controlled substance and trafficking in methamphetamine. The teen was not identified because of her age.
Woodruff said the case is under investigation by Gulf Shores police, but no other arrests are expected.