Jeff and I still cannot believe that our last week at Boston NHP has come to an end so quickly. We started out our week back with maintenance. Our main task for the day was to help clean up a hydrolic fluid spill that had soaked through three floors. The fluid had a vegetable oil base so it was not hazardous other than the fact that it was extremely messy and slippery. The spill started in the storage area of the maintenance building and proceeded to soak through the floor into the curatorial section. Fortunately nothing was damaged where many artifacts were stored due to some cardboard that had been placed above the artifacts. Finally the oil had soaked all the way to the ground floor where it was noticed next to a vehicle.
First we had to throw down and spread out some speedi dri absorbent pellets to soak up as much of the spill as possible.
It was interesting to go through the clean-up process of something that could have been with a hazardous material. It was also important to see how imperative it is to be pro-active in planning for such accidents; had the curator not placed the cardboard above the artifacts it is quite possible that several of them could have been ruined. It was a close call but luckily everything went unharmed and we had the spill cleaned up in no time.
The following day we spent with the rangers at Lowell National Historical Park. The park is known for its original text-tile factories and many canals that go through the park and flow into the Merrimack River. The city of Lowell was one of the first in America that was created strictly for industrial purposes.
Lowell was not at all what I was expecting. The city itself is the fourth largest in Massachusetts which allows for a lot of crime to take place within the park's boundaries. Any given day rangers could be dealing with a drug bust, traffic stops, some type of vehicle or foot pursuit, or even a bank robbery. There is a high school as well as a bank that are within park jurisdiction which can help play a huge role in the crime factor. We learned a lot about the importance of taking notice to your surroundings and knowing when a pursuit is really worth your officer safety. The rangers also have a really good working relationship with the Lowell Police Department and will assist them with any case and vice versa.
Our second to last day of work consisted of a full team of rangers taking part in a bait bike surveillance operation. We had a team of two plain clothes rangers, two rangers on patrol bicycles, two rangers in patrol vehicles, another ranger on duty to respond, and our supervisor (who also was the one we have to thank for making this all possible), Kris Salapek, Jeff, and myself who were posted on a rook surveilling the bike.
We had the bike dropped off at the bottom of the stairs at the Bunker Hill Monument by one of the plain clothes rangers around 6pm. We continued to watch the bike untill about 11pm. We had a few suspicious people that took notice to the bike and lingered a bit longer than normal but unfortunately we had no takers. However it was a great experience to be able to take part in and just the possibility of catching somebody in the act was exhilarating. This type of operation is not something that is done that often at Boston, the last one being several years ago, so Jeff and I are extremely grateful for it to have been put together.
However, I must say we saved the best for last. Our last day was spent doing a night patrol at Minute Man National Historical Park doing ride-alongs with Minute Man Ranger, Kevin Kavanagh, and Lowell Ranger, Michael Choquette. Kavanagh and Choquette are great rangers that have much experience with doing traffic stops. We were able to gain great insight of how to conduct traffic stops and what to keep an eye out for when determining which vehicles should be stopped. Jeff and I really enjoyed working with them and definitely learned a lot.
Throughout the night we made 27 vehicle stops, writing 9 citations and 22 written warnings. However, our biggest event for the night was making an Operating Under the Influence arrest. The driver was seen pulling out of a "Do Not Enter" fire road and after talking with the driver, Kavanagh proceeded with the Preliminary Breath Test and then conducted with the Field Sobriety Tests. The driver was then given the PBT again, with his BAC still well above the .08 legal limit. Kavanagh then put the driver under arrest, and Choquette searched his person finding marijuana in his pocket. While Kavanagh and myself drove the driver to the local police department to be processed, Choquette searched the car and proceeded to find some possibly stolen resource objects from the park within the trunk. This was such an amazing firsthand experience for Jeff and myself to witness. We were kept in the loop from the point of stopping the car, to the field tests, to the arrest, and during processing; and we will also be informed of the outcome of this case.
It was the greatest way to end our summer and more than what Jeff and I expected to see in person. We have learned so much this summer and are extremely grateful for everything that we have been able to witness and take part in. The experiences we have had will stay with us for the rest of our careers and wouldn't be traded for anything. We are sad to leave Boston behind, but are looking forward to what the future holds. We look forward to seeing all of you in about two weeks!
ProRangers Jeff Parente and Erin Langeheine