Monday, August 25, 2014

Do You Miss Being A Park Ranger?

"Do You Miss Being A Park Ranger?"  I get asked this question a lot and there are many aspects of the job of a National Park Ranger I do miss.  What I do not miss is getting to meet people like the one described bellow that showed up at the Lodge in Crater Lake National Park.

What follows was taken from the National Park Service Morning Report and serves as an example of the types of problems park rangers have to deal with on a daily basis.  It is also an example or how you never know what you will run into each day.

Crater Lake NP
Man Arrested Following Violent Disturbance At Lodge
 Park dispatch was contacted by Crater Lake Lodge staff around 6 p.m. on July 10th and advised that a man was causing a disturbance at the service bar in the Great Hall, yelling at staff and visitors. 
 Chief Ranger Curt Dimmick responded. While en route, he learned that the man had begun throwing things from the bar, including pitchers of water, a sales computer, and a credit card printer.  He was subsequently advised that the man had also struck a visitor in the head with a crutch. 
 As he entered the Great Hall, Dimmick saw that the man, later identified as Donald Taylor of Medford, Oregon, was standing in front of the bar, leaning on a crutch and yelling obscenities at two employees. Taylor immediately turned to Dimmick, started advancing across the room with the crutch under his arm and began yelling “I am going to [expletive] kill you!  You are going to die tonight!” 
 Dimmick ordered Taylor to stop and get on the floor several times as he advanced, repeatedly yelling the same threats. When Taylor was only a few feet away and still refusing to stop, Dimmick used his taser to put him on the floor. Ranger John Neumann soon arrived and handcuffed him.
 There were about 50 visitors and Lodge staff present during the incident. Lodge staff had cleared most of the people from the Great Hall and secured the doors into the restaurant just beyond the bar to provide for the safety of guests while lodge and restaurant managers had kept Taylor occupied, waiting for rangers to arrive. 
 The man who was struck in the head with the crutch was a minister who had attempted to talk to Taylor and calm him down.  When the minister spoke to him, Taylor first tried to spit in his face and then swung his crutch at the minister’s head.  The minister ducked, but the crutch still hit the top of his head, causing a one inch laceration and contusion.  The minister declined medical treatment. 
 Rangers later located Taylor’s truck, which was parked immediately in front of the lodge in the loading zone.  Inside the truck were a loaded .22 caliber rifle and an unloaded 7 mm. rifle with two dozen rounds of ammunition.  
 Taylor was charged with assault, resisting or impeding an officer, disorderly conduct and vandalism. Taylor did approximately $2500 in damage to lodge property. On July 28th, Taylor pled guilty to all charges.  His sentencing is scheduled for September 2th. He has been in jail since the incident.
 The court has already ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation. He told the judge he was having a bad day and had too much to drink after learning his ex-wife was trying to get sole custody of their son.
 Rangers had prior contact with Taylor. Last November, he entered the lodge after it was closed by entering a side door that may have been left unlocked. He spent the night with his dog in one of the lodge’s rooms, where he was found by concessioner maintenance staff the next morning. He was cited for trespass at the time.
 [Curt R. Dimmick, Chief Park Ranger]

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