Thursday, August 11, 2011

Harpers Ferry Weeks 11-12

The last two weeks here at Harpers Ferry have been filled with activity and excitement. Over the past ten days Mark and I have gained experience at many different branches. During our time with Museum Management, we toughly cleaned and inventoried the historic artifacts on display throughout Park exhibits. At least once per year, a top-to-bottom cleaning and inventory must be completed to ensure all items are accounted for and in good condition. Detailed photographs must be taken before this process begins, and maps must be drawn in order to document the location of all artifacts. Museum Management works very diligently to keep track of the tens of thousands of collection items, and is a vital component of park operations.

The Law Enforcement Division has also been very busy recently. During our shift last Saturday, Mark and I were involved in multiple incidents that showed us all sides of being a Law Enforcement Ranger. Early in the afternoon, Mark was involved in an arrest in the Lower Town area of the Park. Rangers were alerted to a disorderly individual by Park staff, and responded to their location. After an investigation, the decision was made to place the individual under arrest.

Later the same day, the Rangers were requested to respond to a medical call near the C&O Canal. Due to a traffic accident, the roadway leading to the area was impassable. In turn, we had to hike to the call from Lower Town Harpers Ferry. As the situation on scene changed, we found ourselves running to the call. Once on scene, Mark and I assisted in getting the patients information.

As we continue to gain experience, Ranger Howard has introduced to new areas of law enforcement. Over the last couple weeks, Mark and I have been participating in law enforcement scenarios designed to give us a basic understanding of traffic stops and visitor contacts. Thanks to the other Rangers, and the Harpers Ferry SCA crew; we were able to perform multiple traffic stop scenarios and even write a voided ticket. The scenarios were a great learning tool and really make you think about officer safety.

Last week, Mark and I had the opportunity to work with our administration staff. During our time at Park Headquarters, we covered the ins and outs of the Park budget, as well as Park policies. While working with the budget staff, we truly gained a new appreciation for all the work involved in keeping the Park funded. Using several different programs and analyst tools, they are able to obligate and distribute the necessary funds without going into the red. I found it very interesting to learn about all the different accounts involved with a single division. In order to manage all these accounts, the staff must stay extremely organized.

While at the administration building, Mark and I had the privilege of working alongside Park Superintendent Rebecca Harriett. Throughout our day with Superintendent Harriett, we were exposed to numerous tasks that all keep the Park running. In the morning, we listened as she spoke to a reporter inquiring about the Parks involvement in an artifact dispute. Later, we shadowed a meeting that addressed a Park project. Mark and I were then given an opportunity to review the Park's new signage plan and discuss how it could be improved. Some of our suggestions were taken into consideration for the final plan, which was really satisfying. I am always impressed with the way all Park employees work as a team to keep the Park at its best. While with Superintendent Harriett, this quality was once again shown.

Thank you to all the Park staff and volunteers that have allowed us to experience so much over these past months. Without the dedication of every employee, intern, and volunteer; the ProRanger program would not be possible.

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