Our ninth week at Boston has been jam-packed with many law enforcement opportunities. We started our week by joining in the control tactics refresher. Our supervisor, Kris Salapek, is one of the instructors and we were able to join in with our Chief as well as another supervisor for the refresher. We began the training by warming up our arms and legs. We did so by grabbing around our partners neck with one hand while holding on to their arm with the other. We then pushed and pulled each other around the mat until we got our heart rates up. We then moved right in to the uses for the baton. Each of us had to lengthen the baton and strike a pad using the up-down motion as well as flat across the chest. We learned that it is very important when using any type of force to always be giving commands to your perpetrator; you never know when bystanders will be videotaping.
Once we finished with the batons, we moved on to the OC simulation spray. We took turns being the officer and being the suspect approaching at a slow, quick, and then fast pace. This training was to help you practice acting under pressure as someone is running to get in your face. Even though we weren’t using real OC spray, it still stung and burned quite a bit! (I took some to the eyes). It does help to know what type of force you are using and how it may affect the person you are using it on.
Next we worked on some hands-on control tactics for when someone might charge at you and try to tackle you. We learned that the most important thing about going hands-on is not to try to “win” the fight. It is to keep some separation between you and the suspect, especially at the hips and feet. Once you are able to break free from each other, that is when you use the chance to reach for another tool whether it be your baton or firearm. These types of tactics are something that practice will only make better and more efficient; if you do not take the time to review these every so often you can definitely lose the skill.
During the refresher, we practiced with handcuffing. We practiced with the suspect standing, kneeling, and also laying on the ground. This not only gave us the chance to practice actually physically handcuffing someone, but also giving the commands to them on what to do. You have to be very specific and stern with your commands so they can follow them to the T as well as give them a sense that if they mess around, there will be repercussions. It was great to be able to practice with the handcuffs to get a better sense of the correct way to put them on, and also what it feels like to be handcuffed. We were also shown how to walk with a person who is handcuffed and where to hold them so they can’t go anywhere. Salapek also gave Jeff and me the chance to shoot two practice cartridges on the tasers. We did the same course of fire that is done when you complete your taser refresher (the one we witnessed our fellow ranger complete). It helped us understand the use of the taser that we learned from watching the powerpoint, and of course it was awesome to be able to shoot it in general. Everything we learned in the refresher was a very good introduction to the types of things we will be focusing on in the LE academy, and I must say it is definitely something to look forward to.
The following day we kept right along with some LE training and practiced doing building clearings. In the Navy Yard, there is a big, old warehouse that is no longer used for anything but storage so it works as a good place to practice in. Salapek first walked through the basic tactical skills of clearing a building; some important tips to remember are to never “laser” your partner with your gun while walking through (meaning never have your gun pointed towards them, even if you are making a sweeping motion past them). It is also very important to not get too far separated so that you can still see each other as well as keep an eye on what is to the left, the right, and the rear. Communication is also key. If there is a room that needs to be cleared, you must say so to your partner so they don’t keep moving on. If you see any sudden movements or something suspicious, you should say so with the direction of the action. Building clearing is supposed to be a quick, flowing operation that is smooth and efficient to get the job done correctly. This too should be practiced frequently, especially whenever you are working with someone new so you can learn how each other moves and communicates. The two days we had with these LE training techniques were so great. We really appreciated the opportunity to learn the basics of some of the most important dealings within a law enforcement position.
It would not be a summer in BOST if we did not make a trip to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument! One morning while we were on patrol with our supervisor, we took a stroll to the top. 294 steps later, we made it to the top and were rewarded with the view overlooking Charlestown and parts of the Boston Harbor. Along with the USS Constitution, the Bunker Hill Monument could be seen as one of the more iconic parts of Boston NHP. Many people from all over come to admire it and make the trek to the top.
Later on in the week we had a special visit from North East Chief Ranger, Steve Clark and Branch Chief of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services, Kim Coast. Their visit with Jeff and I was brief, but they were in Boston to gain a better understanding of how the park runs, specifically on the law enforcement side, and also to meet a few chief rangers from some of the other National Parks close by. It was great to see them in action and to see two individuals that are so passionate about their positions within the National Park Service; talk about motivating!
We ended our great week with a trip to Cape Cod National Seashore to do a ride-along with a few of their rangers. Upon arrival, we were showed around by Ranger Eric Trudeau. Once we became a little more familiar with our surroundings we let some air out of the tires and headed for the oversand trail. At Cape Cod they have several trails for people to drive on the beach, with a permit of course. They told us that they will have to keep an eye on people possibly drinking a little too much and then trying to drive. They also use the oversand trails to check and make sure fishers are going by the regulations of size and amount with Striper and Blue fish. Cape Cod rangers also do a lot of traffic stops; there are several roads that fall within their jurisdiction. We were able to witness a few be conducted for speeding. The rangers also get opportunities to do some plain clothes operations in which they walk to beaches and are vigilant for any illegal behavior. Cape Cod is a beautiful place to work with many possibilities for law enforcement action. Jeff and I would highly recommend all of you to take the time to visit if you ever get the chance!
A view of the Race Point Light from one of the oversand trails along the shore.
This past week has been nothing but motivational and educational. Jeff and I are really enjoying our time here and are very sad when we think we only have two weeks left! We hope that everyone is taking the time to do everything they want to in these last weeks and continue to be sponges soaking up every last bit of knowledge from the great people we have been working with!
ProRangers Jeff Parente and Erin Langeheine