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  • Washington state park ranger questions

    Just got a few questions as I’ve recently have been really interested in being a park ranger and hoping someone who is or was a ranger could answer or someone knowledgeable about them. Is the Washington state parks hurting for law enforcement rangers like the rest of Washington ? Is this position law enforcement oriented ? Are rangers given additional duties such as cleaning facilities and such ? Is it possible to lateral to a city or county police department in Washington ? I would think that if a park ranger has BLEA certification it would be much easier than someone with a PLEA certification. For me park ranger isn’t the end goal which is why I’m asking his question. How often are park rangers asked to provide backup or cooperate with another law enforcement agency ? What are some common violations that park rangers come across as opposed to a city police officer ? How many state park rangers are there currently ? Would attending PLEA be a must have for competition in the hiring process as I am an applicant without it ? Do they do ride alongs ? I’ve tried asking this directly but with no answer. Apologies as my questions are all over the place.

  • #2
    If it's not your end goal, why not just apply to the agency that is? Everyone (with few exceptions) is hiring.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MichaelW1982 View Post
      If it's not your end goal, why not just apply to the agency that is? Everyone (with few exceptions) is hiring.
      What he said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Peacefulness View Post
        Just got a few questions as I’ve recently have been really interested in being a park ranger and hoping someone who is or was a ranger could answer or someone knowledgeable about them. Is the Washington state parks hurting for law enforcement rangers like the rest of Washington ? Is this position law enforcement oriented ? Are rangers given additional duties such as cleaning facilities and such ? Is it possible to lateral to a city or county police department in Washington ? I would think that if a park ranger has BLEA certification it would be much easier than someone with a PLEA certification. For me park ranger isn’t the end goal which is why I’m asking his question. How often are park rangers asked to provide backup or cooperate with another law enforcement agency ? What are some common violations that park rangers come across as opposed to a city police officer ? How many state park rangers are there currently ? Would attending PLEA be a must have for competition in the hiring process as I am an applicant without it ? Do they do ride alongs ? I’ve tried asking this directly but with no answer. Apologies as my questions are all over the place.
        I worked with a few park rangers and several wildlife officers in my patrol area East of the mountains. Almost everything they deal with is state regulations for the state parks, i.e., issuing and enforcing park permits, patroling parks for fire hazards or people camping where they shouldn't, etc. Its definitely a job that you have to WANT to do, as its fairly bland compared to other law enforcement work. Our firearms instructor at the WSP academy was a long time park ranger and said a lot of her days were spent moving department trucks around different sections of the park to make it look as though she wasn't the only one working...lol.
        "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."- George S. Patton Jr.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by COMoparfan392 View Post

          I worked with a few park rangers and several wildlife officers in my patrol area East of the mountains. Almost everything they deal with is state regulations for the state parks, i.e., issuing and enforcing park permits, patroling parks for fire hazards or people camping where they shouldn't, etc. Its definitely a job that you have to WANT to do, as its fairly bland compared to other law enforcement work. Our firearms instructor at the WSP academy was a long time park ranger and said a lot of her days were spent moving department trucks around different sections of the park to make it look as though she wasn't the only one working...lol.
          I really appreciate the information you’ve given about park rangers and I completely understand that the job is LE but does ever so slightly differ from what one would call “traditional” law enforcement. I would still do it though as I’m just trying to apply everywhere whether local, county, state or federal. Do these park rangers that you work with back you up from time to time or assist you ? Does the WSP ever ask for a park rangers assistance to a call that a trooper would not make it in time or somewhere along those circumstances? I ask because even though park rangers, like you stated usually do different things it would still be nice to, on occasion do traditional law enforcement work.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Peacefulness View Post

            I really appreciate the information you’ve given about park rangers and I completely understand that the job is LE but does ever so slightly differ from what one would call “traditional” law enforcement. I would still do it though as I’m just trying to apply everywhere whether local, county, state or federal. Do these park rangers that you work with back you up from time to time or assist you ? Does the WSP ever ask for a park rangers assistance to a call that a trooper would not make it in time or somewhere along those circumstances? I ask because even though park rangers, like you stated usually do different things it would still be nice to, on occasion do traditional law enforcement work.
            If we need them and they are close by they will show up. They wont go out of their way to join us on calls or stops but we dont expect them to. Unless there's a specfic reason that we're at a park and we need a ranger to show up we wont call them. Most of the time it's the wildlife police showing up anyway.
            "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."- George S. Patton Jr.

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            • #7
              A few things...Right now, literally everyone is hiring. If you want to be a city/county/state cop, apply to the one(s) you think you will be a best fit at. There is no better time to get hired anywhere. Everyone needs officers. Do not go the foot in the door route to just whatever obscure department or agency will hire you. I can tell you from experience of others, you will most likely be stuck there or end up bouncing around between similar agencies. Then, when you want to lateral, a lot of those types of agencies do not qualify as a lateral in WA. Others do but since they don’t do traditional police duties, they either aren’t as competitive in the lateral hiring pool and or just flat out wash out of FTO as a lateral. This is usually because they are essentially entry-level in terms of doing the job since they didn’t do any traditional type of police work previously.

              Set yourself up for success from the beginning and only apply places that you could see yourself spending your entire career. Otherwise, you risk becoming a statistic. When you go in to an oral board and are asked where else you apply, saying super small town here, super big city there, county there and the US Treasury Police only makes you look extremely indecisive and raises a red flag.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NightRover View Post
                A few things...Right now, literally everyone is hiring. If you want to be a city/county/state cop, apply to the one(s) you think you will be a best fit at. There is no better time to get hired anywhere. Everyone needs officers. Do not go the foot in the door route to just whatever obscure department or agency will hire you. I can tell you from experience of others, you will most likely be stuck there or end up bouncing around between similar agencies. Then, when you want to lateral, a lot of those types of agencies do not qualify as a lateral in WA. Others do but since they don’t do traditional police duties, they either aren’t as competitive in the lateral hiring pool and or just flat out wash out of FTO as a lateral. This is usually because they are essentially entry-level in terms of doing the job since they didn’t do any traditional type of police work previously.

                Set yourself up for success from the beginning and only apply places that you could see yourself spending your entire career. Otherwise, you risk becoming a statistic. When you go in to an oral board and are asked where else you apply, saying super small town here, super big city there, county there and the US Treasury Police only makes you look extremely indecisive and raises a red flag.
                Agreed. However, on the off chance that an oral board asks where else you've applied to, you can always start out by saying "Due to my background/age/limited time to apply (or any other legit reason you can think of), I cannot put all of my eggs in one basket, so I applied to x y and z agencies". It takes the average qualified candidate 2-5 years and 15+ agencies to get hired, on top of the fact that many agencies hiring processes take a full year or more to go through. This is exacerbated if they economy is bad...right now there's not as much competition.
                "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."- George S. Patton Jr.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most departments understand that. However the red flag is when there is zero rhyme or reason to having applied to places that are nowhere near the same type of policing. Right now, there are very few qualified applicants overall applying. There is also a historically low amount of people applying for law enforcement jobs. What use to take 2-5 years to get hired and needing to apply everywhere is not as much the case nowadays. The ones still taking that long to get hired are ones that have multiple red flags and or background issues popping up while the quality applicants can easily be picked up right away by the first agency they apply to. Before, it use to be that there were so many qualified applicants that only a small few could be selected which caused the need to apply en masse in hopes of making those top spots.

                  It is currently a buyers market in terms of police hiring. There use to be 1,000+ applicants for 1 job. Those days are long gone. For that reason, applicants can now better focus on applying to places they legitimately want to work upfront rather than the shotgun method of ten different types of law enforcement agencies.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Peacefulness View Post
                    Just got a few questions as I’ve recently have been really interested in being a park ranger and hoping someone who is or was a ranger could answer or someone knowledgeable about them. Is the Washington state parks hurting for law enforcement rangers like the rest of Washington ? Is this position law enforcement oriented ? Are rangers given additional duties such as cleaning facilities and such ? Is it possible to lateral to a city or county police department in Washington ? I would think that if a park ranger has BLEA certification it would be much easier than someone with a PLEA certification. For me park ranger isn’t the end goal which is why I’m asking his question. How often are park rangers asked to provide backup or cooperate with another law enforcement agency ? What are some common violations that park rangers come across as opposed to a city police officer ? How many state park rangers are there currently ? Would attending PLEA be a must have for competition in the hiring process as I am an applicant without it ? Do they do ride alongs ? I’ve tried asking this directly but with no answer. Apologies as my questions are all over the place.
                    I'll try to answer to the best of my ability.

                    LE wise State Parks is better now than it was say 10 years ago. This is demonstrated by their new vehicles, badges, load bearing vests, etc. But it's still not like a regular PD or even WA Fish & Wildlife. LE is part of a job of a WA St Parks Ranger, not the sole job. You may go from mowing the grass in your duty belt to arresting a guy on a warrant. Most parks hire seasonal maintenance staff during their peak visitation times so that the ranger can focus more on LE needs, but come the "off season" those duties fall back on the ranger. If a Ranger goes thru BLEA the cert is still valid but the time spent with Parks will be considered lapsed time, and if you go to a general authority agency after three years with parks you will likely have to go thru the 2 week equivalency academy at CJTC.

                    As far as the actual LE duties, it really depends on the park. I've known Rangers in busy parks writing lots of tickets and making many arrests, I know there are others who never write tickets. If the park has water you'll likely have a busier area. Places like Mt Spokane, Potholes, Banks Lake, Lake Sammamish, Flaming Geyser, the coastal beaches, etc all have plenty of LE work to be done. But also remember LE is just part of the job. So you may want to go out looking for violations but instead your digging a trench for a new drainage pipe. As far as violations go it just depends where you are. Drugs, alcohol, weapons, park regs, fish and wildlife,etc.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NightRover View Post
                      Most departments understand that. However the red flag is when there is zero rhyme or reason to having applied to places that are nowhere near the same type of policing. Right now, there are very few qualified applicants overall applying. There is also a historically low amount of people applying for law enforcement jobs. What use to take 2-5 years to get hired and needing to apply everywhere is not as much the case nowadays. The ones still taking that long to get hired are ones that have multiple red flags and or background issues popping up while the quality applicants can easily be picked up right away by the first agency they apply to. Before, it use to be that there were so many qualified applicants that only a small few could be selected which caused the need to apply en masse in hopes of making those top spots.

                      It is currently a buyers market in terms of police hiring. There use to be 1,000+ applicants for 1 job. Those days are long gone. For that reason, applicants can now better focus on applying to places they legitimately want to work upfront rather than the shotgun method of ten different types of law enforcement agencies.
                      Since it is in fact a buyers market, logic would have it that agencies wouldn't have enough qualified applicants to care about such a trivial issue as if you've applied to varying types of LE jobs, especially since it's easily justifiable...but you are right. I just haven't seen any agencies bring that up as an issue, at least for an oral board. I've seen asked it in background investigations, just found your point intriguing.
                      Last edited by COMoparfan392; 09-13-2019, 01:43 PM.
                      "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."- George S. Patton Jr.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wildlife97 View Post

                        I'll try to answer to the best of my ability.

                        LE wise State Parks is better now than it was say 10 years ago. This is demonstrated by their new vehicles, badges, load bearing vests, etc. But it's still not like a regular PD or even WA Fish & Wildlife. LE is part of a job of a WA St Parks Ranger, not the sole job. You may go from mowing the grass in your duty belt to arresting a guy on a warrant. Most parks hire seasonal maintenance staff during their peak visitation times so that the ranger can focus more on LE needs, but come the "off season" those duties fall back on the ranger. If a Ranger goes thru BLEA the cert is still valid but the time spent with Parks will be considered lapsed time, and if you go to a general authority agency after three years with parks you will likely have to go thru the 2 week equivalency academy at CJTC.

                        As far as the actual LE duties, it really depends on the park. I've known Rangers in busy parks writing lots of tickets and making many arrests, I know there are others who never write tickets. If the park has water you'll likely have a busier area. Places like Mt Spokane, Potholes, Banks Lake, Lake Sammamish, Flaming Geyser, the coastal beaches, etc all have plenty of LE work to be done. But also remember LE is just part of the job. So you may want to go out looking for violations but instead your digging a trench for a new drainage pipe. As far as violations go it just depends where you are. Drugs, alcohol, weapons, park regs, fish and wildlife,etc.
                        I appreciate the informative response. What if the park ranger had PLEA certification rather than BLEA certification and tried to lateral to a general authority agency, would it be possible ?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Peacefulness View Post

                          I appreciate the informative response. What if the park ranger had PLEA certification rather than BLEA certification and tried to lateral to a general authority agency, would it be possible ?
                          No. CJTC has consistently said that PLEA is not equivalent to BLEA (but in reality it is). Basically CJTC doesn't want agencies to start putting new hires thru PLEA as a work around to BLEA.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wildlife97 View Post

                            No. CJTC has consistently said that PLEA is not equivalent to BLEA (but in reality it is). Basically CJTC doesn't want agencies to start putting new hires thru PLEA as a work around to BLEA.
                            That’s unfortunate to hear though I am curious as you say that in reality PLEA is equivalent to BLEA. How so ? How do you know this ? If PLEA is equivalent to BLEA than wouldn’t that mean that out of state agencies would have it be acceptable training to them ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Peacefulness View Post

                              That’s unfortunate to hear though I am curious as you say that in reality PLEA is equivalent to BLEA. How so ? How do you know this ? If PLEA is equivalent to BLEA than wouldn’t that mean that out of state agencies would have it be acceptable training to them ?
                              The same topics and hours instructed for BLEA are in PLEA. Each state can decide to accept PLEA if they want, I'm sure some do. The whole basis for PLEA starting was that years ago CJTC did not allow Park Rangers or any other limited authority officer into BLEA. That's why you had PLEA for Park Rangers, Liquor Board actually sent their officers to the Idaho POST academy for several years before starting their own academy which ran for a few years. Then CJTC decided to start letting limited authority agencies to send their officers to BLEA but only if the agency flips the entire bill, and the agency gets last pick in seats in a class.

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