Thursday, May 31, 2012

Week 2 at Shenandoah National Park!

Week 2 was also exciting here at Shenandoah National Park; on Tuesday I went on patrol with District Ranger Dixon Freeland and got to see more of Skyline drive. Every time I have driven on it the experience has been breath taking. I saw my first black bear he was maybe two or three years of age and about 150 pounds.  I was super excited that I got to see a bear for the first time in the wild. Dixon has taught me a lot about my career so far and for that I am very thankful; he has made me realize that I will love and fit in with this career. 

Wednesday I rode with LE Park Ranger Jeston Fisher and got to see two more bears; 1 was crossing the street and the other one was on the side of the road. Jeston spotted him and took me back around to see him; we ended up being fairly close to the bear and I got a great picture of him. I got to witness a vehicle stop, four people were on two motorcycles; the first one was clocked at 62mph and the second one was clocked at 60mph. The speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35mph so they were clearly speeding. Even though I could only observe what was going on it was still something that I found interesting. I cannot wait to actually get the hands on training. Jeston has also taught me more a lot about being an LE Park Ranger and I hope that I get the opportunity to work with him more often.

Thursday I attended basic Search and Rescue training (SAR). I also took my pack test, which consisted of, a two-mile walk with 25lbs on my back and I had thirty minutes to complete this task. SAR training in my opinion is something that everyone, who is  should have to take and be apart of because it is something that will be helpful during my career. I am going to continue to complete more of the SAR training.

Friday and Saturday I worked with fees in Big Meadows Campground. It was very busy because it was a holiday weekend; they have over 200 sites that you can rent and they were basically filled by Friday around noon. I learned that if you work for a fee operation you need to be detail oriented; small mistakes in someone’s reservation can cause huge problems. People reserve campground sites up to six months in advance for holiday weekends. 
We also had to drive around in a golf cart and make sure that the visitors were abiding by the rules and regulations of the park; if they did not they received a written warning from a ranger and if they continued to break the rules then an LE Park Ranger would be notified and deal with the visitor. Utilizing a golf cart we patrolled Big Meadows Campground and spoke with visitors about food storage and other regulations.  I helped register campers and make sure they got to their appropriate campsite. In conclusion I learned a lot in a few days about what employees do in different fee operations especially in campground. This is a great way to get to interact with all of the visitors and get to know people who come back every year.

I love it here at Shenandoah National Park! I am extremely happy that I am here and get to experience all of these wonderful things within the park.  I like working with all the different divisions of the park and it gives me a better understanding of not only the people that work here but what their jobs entitle. 

Hope you are all having a fun week and I can not wait to hear more of what you all are doing in your parks!

Prince William Forest Park Week 2

The second week at Prince William was full of a variety of fun activities and experiences.  On Tuesday, I spent the day continuing to work on the hazardous fuel reduction project.  We continued to work along Burma Road for the day, cutting away and removing fuels from the road.  Wednesday, we traveled with Chief Ranger Cyndee Sirk-Fear and Ranger Dave Ballam to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and took the PEB with several rangers from that park.  It was nice to see some of the battlefield as well as meet more park rangers.  Once we returned to the Prince William that day, Jessica, Subhi and I helped in cleaning the grills at the Oak Ridge Campground in preparation for a large number of campers expected over Memorial Day weekend.  Thursday was certainly an awesome day, since I got to complete a wildland fire refresher and catch up and hang out with ProRangers from several parks in the region.  We took part in fire shelter drills, constructed a fireline and some hose lines.  During the afternoon we were divided into three squads to dig the firelines and this was great experience since it illustrated how critical communication and working as a unit are in order to dig a strong line, as well as ensure that everyone remains safe while working.  Friday, we had the opportunity to travel to Harper’s Ferry and drive through a Non-Emergency Vehicle Operations Course.  There was an assortment of different law enforcement vehicles for us to drive, including a Ford Crown-Victoria, F-150, Expedition, and Dodge Charger.  It was a lot of fun to drive through the course a couple times and get a feel for different vehicles and how they handled.  Finally, I wrapped up the week with a ride-along on Saturday night.  The ranger I rode with stressed the importance of obtaining a “baseline” at the beginning of the shift.  This includes an initial patrol through the park, looking for what belongs or should be in a given area and what does not, in addition to observing such things as which vehicles are parked where, and what campsites are occupied.  This is also extremely important so when the ranger patrols past that particular area again, whether it is a campground or parking lot, he knows what has changed since he last drove through that area.  Late in the shift, and well after dark, he caught three individuals drinking alcohol in one of the parking lots, now a closed area, and after contacting them, found marijuana and more alcohol in their vehicle.  Eventually, he cited each person for several violations.  It was interesting to watch the contact develop, while observing how he approached and dealt with multiple subjects, articulating to me exactly how he was able to search their vehicle.  I certainly learned plenty from this contact alone.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to train and spend time with fellow ProRangers, and definitely look forward to the week ahead.

Charles Papacostas


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sandy Hook Week 2!!

Hey everybody,
Our second week consisted of the Park Ranger’s Law Enforcement Refresher. The refresher contained a total of 40 hours of training. During the training, the Rangers were updated on policies and techniques to help them adequately perform their duties. It also helped the new Seasonal Rangers earn their qualifications for a commission.
On the first day, it was more of a classroom setting where we had the only Victims Assistance Coordinator in the National Park Service talking about how to deal with crime victims. She explained to everyone what the rules and responsibilities are for Law Enforcement when dealing with victims. In the next training session we watched the Rangers participate in Taser recertification and we learned the anatomy of the Taser. Afterwards, two New Jersey Conservation Officers gave a session on NJ Fish and Wildlife Policy. It was interesting to learn about the different species and how to differentiate between them. One of the Officers brought in actual specimens of fish to show us the different features. It is important to be able to identify the different species of fish because there are many regulations. For instance, some species need to be a certain length in order to keep and some species are illegal to fish. 
On the second day, there was a lot more interaction and hands-on material. The rangers learned all about control tactics both verbal and physical. What made the day even more exciting was the fact that we had fellow ProRanger Fallen Roby-Roberson, visit from Morristown, NJ. We all had the opportunity to be suspects and get handcuffed to help the rangers train. We observed ground fighting techniques, simulation OC spraying, ASP (expandable baton) training, Taser simulations, and fighting techniques. One of the things that was stressed the most was verbalizing what you want the suspect to do, give them commands... “stay back, get on the ground, etc”.

The third day was by far the most interesting and exciting day of them all. The rangers participated in role playing scenarios using simunitions, which are paintball rounds that are fired through police service weapons to help simulate realistic scenarios. Although we were not allowed to participate we helped load the rounds in the magazines and watched from a close but safe distance. There were four different scenarios that forced the rangers to initiate different tactics to control a scene. The most interesting part was watching how the Rangers all had used different methods and tactics to get the same end result...suspect in custody. It was also funny to observe the rangers in their suspect roles; they really got into it..some maybe Oscar worthy?
Day four, was once again another classroom setting. This time we had the detectives from Monmouth County Prosecutors Office talk about Juvenile victims and their investigations. The detectives were very reassuring that they would assist the Park Service if needed and allow them to utilize their resources. Later on a member of MOCERT, Monmouth County Emergency Response Team came and spoke about their tactical SWAT unit and all of their capabilities. In the afternoon, our Program Manager Kim Coast came to talk about NPS policy updates, and heavily stressed ethics.
On the last day, we had a visit from the FBI, where two agents came in and spoke about what they do and how they could help the Park Service in time of need. Next the Park Rangers spoke about court procedure, and court updates. The last session we had the Deputy Chief and Chief of the Sandy Hook Fire Department talk about the possibility of coming across unexploded ordinance and also discussed FEMAS’ unified command. Coming across unexploded ordinance is still a possibility since Sandy Hook was a proving Ground to test weapons from 1874-1919.
Overall the week was informative and intriguing! We look forward to work with law enforcement again.  
-Vinny Lemba and Christina Cintron

Sandy Hook Week One!

Hello everyone,

We are having fun and enjoying our stay at Gateway National Recreational Area, Sandy Hook Unit. For our first week, we worked with the interpretation division. Working with the interpretation division was a great start for us because it helped us learn the history of Sandy Hook, which was once considered a key coastal defense system for New York Harbor. On day one we shadowed interpreter rangers as they gave tours of the Sandy Hook Light House, the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States that has helped guide ships into New York Harbor since 1764. With 95 steps and a 9 step latter it can be a little bit of a work out to climb to the top, but the view is completely worth it. On a clear day you can see the Verrazano Bridge, Manhattan, Staten Island, the Empire State Building, Freedom Tower, and the Coney Island Parachute Drop, not to mention an amazing view of Fort Hancock. In addition, we learned about the Fresnel lens and how it was placed in 1857 when the iron lens house was added to the Tower. The lens still remains today and can be seen 19 miles away!




On the second day we worked with Clean Ocean Action, a program whose mission is to “improve the degraded water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York Coast.” We helped Clean Ocean Action prepare for Student Summit (an educational program that gives young students the opportunity to hands-on marine environmental education). The school kids were separated to many different groups and stationed at different activities. The group we helped supervised was learning how to test water quality and learned about Sandy Hook’s Holly Forrest. It was a rainy and cold day, but everybody made the best out of it and most of all the kids had a great time. In the afternoon we took a ride with the Park Historian where we were given an in depth tour of the park and learned a lot.

On our third day, we helped worked the light house and Battery Potter. There was a large group of kids on a field trip and we helped transition the groups in and out of the light house and at Battery Potter. In the afternoon, we helped prepare Battery Gunnison for the Junior Ranger Program. Battery Gunnison was part of Fort Hancock's arsenal of defenses on Sandy Hook and contained 6-inch caliber rapid-fire guns. The kids participating in the Junior Ranger Program learned how to load one of the remaining guns in 15 seconds. 



On our fourth day, we worked the visiting center and helped answered visitors questions, answered phone calls, and helped cleaned out the storage room. We met many vacationers from all over including England, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland just to name a few. One of the most rewarding parts was helping people in the visitor center and suggesting different things like visiting the light house and then seeing them there in the afternoon.

On our last day with the interpretation division, we participated in a beach cleanup with a group of high school students. We walked up and down the beach and picked trash. As we picked up the trash we separated the plastics from regular garbage. In the afternoon, we helped tear down and replace the cork bulletin boards that post fliers and information posters to inform visitors. 

In all, we had a great first week. Everybody we worked with was very nice and welcoming. We are looking forward to the rest of the summer because we are positive that Sandy hook has many wonderful opportunities and adventures in store for us.

-Vinny Lemba and Christina Cintron

Busy Week at the Forest

Monday - We spent the day at Resource Management.   The cultural resource specialist took us on a hike through the parks trails and we looked over some of the old homesteads that once belonged to residents of the area before the government purchased the site to create the park.  Interestingly enough, the site was littered with artifacts from the 30’s.  There was plenty of glassware and old metal objects such as buckets and railroad ties.  As the day went on there was a call from a visitor who had found some dead owls in one of the cabin areas, so we went over to check it out.  We helped prep the specimens for shipping.  They were sent to one of the NPS labs to be examined and cataloged.  We got a great feel for how the resource management team works and we got to spend the day out on the trails. 

Tuesday – Tuesday morning we meet with our supervisor and a few weather “experts” and helped build a weather station at the park.  Apparently there was a gap in the map of weather conditions in Virginia and this station will help fill the hole.  Building the station was relatively easy but all the calibrations had to be exact for it to work.  Because Prince William is a forested park having the satellite and the sensors pointed exactly right and making sure that the tree line isn’t obstructing the signal is key.  The cool thing about this weather station is that it is available online, so anyone can look up the info online and find out what the conditions are like in the area; this is especially useful for alerting fire conditions.       

 *we had some really cool pictures but our internet connection is real slow and they just wouldn't upload, after a couple hours of trying we gave up...maybe we'll slip them into a future post.*  

Wednesday- On Wednesday we took a trip down to Fredericksburg, but it wasn’t all fun and games.  We took another PEB.  The weather was hot and the mile and a half was run on gravel.  Of course Charles beat the field in the mile and a half run.  In a testament to hard work and a strong workout schedule, Jess, Charles, and I all improved our scores from the time we took the PEB at the customs house.

Thursday- On Thursday we hosted the Wild land Fire Training Field Day.  Since everyone else seems to have posted on this already I’ll keep this short.  We ran though the pack test and fire shelters and for the rest of the day we practiced constructing fire line and hose lay.      

Friday- On Friday we went out to Harpers Ferry and participated in Non-Emergency Vehicle Operations Training.  We were allowed to drive different law enforcement vehicles.  Our supervisor drives a humungous Ford F150 and we tried our best to navigate the course with terrible lines of sight.  But afterwards all the other vehicles felt toys and we were able to zip through the course with no problem. 

All in all, we had a packed week and learned a lot thanks to all the instructors at Prince William and Harpers Ferry.  And it was nice to see some of our fellow ProRangers again. 

Till Next Week,

Subhi and Jess from PRWI

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fort McHenry Update

Introduction to the Fort McHenry and Hampton House Experience

As I live, work hard, play and learn on the birthplace of American National Identity, I think often of preserving cultural image and history by protecting its resources and the people who visit. 

The first week my partner Jeff and I were sponges that absorbed information about Fort McHenry's history, the divisions of the park, the duties of the staff, and the plans surrounding the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, which I look forward to seeing many Prorangers and Rangers at.

History, history, history! Fort McHenry is renowned for America's defense against the British navy during the Battle of 1812 but also served as a prison, a training post and a general hospital established by the U.S. Army before the fort became a National Park. 

We were also told about the Historic Hampton House, another park we frequent. Hampton House was described by one ranger as "Heaven," and from an outside glance, this claim rings very true. Though its appearance is glamorous, its history as one of the largest slaveholding estates in Maryland suggests that Hampton's past was less than perfect. In the Hampton House, history lessons of early American life, industrialization, art and architecture, and the consequences of wealth accumulated from a prejudiced foundation await visitors. 

It was only day two that we were role-playing suspects for one of the seasonal ranger's cuffing tactics drill. A few days later, we were off to the range for some shotgun and rifle familiarization.

Shooting a shotgun for the first time is kind of like trying to balance a ceramic plate on the end of a heavy metal pole, except that it shoots metal slugs. It is a skill of balance and endurance, which like any other, is eased with steady, relaxed breathing. One of the ranger's, who was also the firearms instructor, simplified the tactics of shooting when he pointed to the camera I was snapping pictures on. He explained how the two disciplines were similar and it is no coincidence why you "shoot" a camera, just as you shoot a gun. Sometimes a gun and a camera are shot for the same reason; to protect something or someone.

The second week was as new and interesting as the first. The long hours of online NEMA and Wildland Fire training proved valuable when training at Prince William Forest for the first Proranger round-up since we left Philadelphia for our parks. It was an intense day of pack-testing, fire safety, fireline and hose drills. We left drenched in sweat and exhausted - just as we should. Most importantly, I remember those I spoke to left with a sense of accomplishment.

We also worked with Maintenance, "Maintenance" is really a broad term that encompasses many things, like all other divisions. These days I learned about historic preservation projects, grounds keeping, and various other tasks. Jeff and I constructed a parking lot that will be used for the upcoming Bicentennial events. Maybe you will park in our carefully labored white lines of justice.

This week, which is passing at an incredible rate, has surfaced defense drills and work with Resource Management. Resource Management is another division with many hats to wear and incorporates natural and cultural resources, such as museum exhibits and anything horticulture-related, from pulling weeds to designing landscape architectural. 

On Monday our Chief Ranger, Glen Clark, went over baton exercises and voice command. The success of the baton drill was broken down into three categories; "speed, tactics and violence". The next day (today), the intensity of the baton drills was tamed by the sight of fawn, brand-new to the world, who was nestled into one of the elaborate garden beds of the Hampton House. Experiences in the National Park Service are indeed diverse. 

Ft. McHenry week 2

Hello again everyone,

  For week two I spent a few days with the maintenance division and went to PRWI to participate in the wildland firefighting training.  While in maintenance I went to Hampton for a day and helped install some window air conditioners in the lower house.  My other days in maintenance were spent helping to paint stripes in the parking lot across the street from Ft McHenry in preparation for the event to celebrate the bicentennial of the start of the war of 1812.  It was a little hot out there, but there was a nice breeze so I didn't notice the heat too much, we wore traffic vests to make sure that we could be seen because there were tractor trailers using the lot at the same time that we were painting it.  It may not seem like it but it was actually a lot of fun and it was important to make sure that everything was measured out correctly so that there won't be any parking problems once the event starts.


  Our time at PRWI was also very fun because I got to see some fellow ProRangers that I hadn't seen for a few weeks.  The first thing we did was take the pack test and everyone there did very well on it, later we moved on to practicing setting up our fire shelters and I for one know I could use more practice doing that to improve my speed. 

We also got into squads and practiced making a fire line and even though we only made a small one it was a pretty good indicator of just how much work really goes into making a good fire line for a real fire.

We also had some classroom instruction on the ten standard orders and eighteen lookout situations of wildland firefighting which are very useful things to know.  The last thing we did was practice hose lays which was turned into a competition and it was my personal favorite part of the day.  I hope everyone is having as good of a time as I am and look forward to reading posts from all my fellow ProRangers. 

And the fun just does not stop at Morristown: Week 2

This week was a very interesting week for me. I attended the Law Enforcement Refresher with my Chief, Rich Aldridge, at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. I was great to spend time with ProRangers Christina Cintron and Vincent Lemba, while assisting the instructors with the Control Tactics Classes. The best way for me to learn and understand new concepts is by being visual and hands on. Last year I was stationed at Sandy Hook and I was not able to really see all of the scenarios that the instructors had for the Law Enforcement Rangers, but this year not only was I able to watch the scenarios, I was also able to participate as a role player! Christina, Vinny and I, acted as suspects when the Rangers were going over the procedures in handcuffing. The instructors also went over how to react in stressful circumstances, for example, if you were to find yourself in a ground fight they showed the different techniques to get yourself out of there and take control of the situation.  Although, we did not participate in ground fighting, we were able to watch the techniques that were used, that way once we are out in field we will remember that we should never stop fighting because there is always a way out.
One thing I that I found was important in the lessons from this day was to pay attention small details that many overlook when they are carrying out an arrest. For example, making sure that you are always one step ahead of the suspect; one way to do this is when you are giving commands to the suspect, walking back and forth behind them shows that the Officer has more control over the situation and it prevents the suspect from attacking you unexpectedly. If you are directly behind them, they can tell where you are, figure out how close they may be to you and it would be a greater chance of them planning their attack. The next day the Rangers went through a day of scenarios, where they needed to take everything they learned the day before and use it perform in the field. One scenario that I enjoyed the most was when the Rangers were “blindfolded” and told to lay on the ground. When the shirt was lifted from their faces they were immediately involved in a ground fight by the suspect (role player). I enjoyed that scenario the most because it really made me think of what I would do in that situation. One must expect the unexpected, so I felt that this was a great way to get everyone to think quickly in a short duration of time.
Once I returned to Morristown, I rode along with one of the LE Rangers. I was given the chance to do radar along the main roads. I learned the different approaches that may be used in a traffic stop. For instance, instead of walking up on the driver side, approaching from the passenger side can be used especially if on a busy road. I went for a hike Thursday, to see different areas of the park and explore the wildlife. On Friday, I was sent out on a more work related hike, which I still enjoyed doing. As I hiked, the task given to me was to take note of all the signposts to make sure that they were clear, the signs were not dirty and more importantly confirm that the right signs were there. I noted if there was a post that should have signs and posts that may not need a sign, based off of the trial maps.  I took that time to explore the soldier huts where the troops of the Continental Army stayed. One hut housed about 12-13 soldiers for the winter! Week two has been a great week for me. It went by quickly and I’m sad to say that my summer is beginning to go by too quickly. Every day I am learning more and more; as a result of that I make sure to keep my pen and pocket notebook handy.

I hope all is well with everyone. I look forward to hearing more about everyone’s Park as the summer continues.

With love,


Memorial Day Weekend at CAHA- Week 2

Honoring those past and present who serve our country
Happy Memorial Day
First, I would like to let everyone know this was quite an eventful week, especially an eventful Memorial Day weekend. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a park that attracts millions of people each year for a variety of activities. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summertime. For everyone, and especially all the ProRangers reading this blog, this entry will be a long one, but I think it is an entry that shows you the diverse roles of NPS Law Enforcement, and I think writing about the variety is important in itself.

One of my supervisors, Mark Kreb started out my second work week by teaching me how to prep a vehicle to make sure all the necessary parts like lights and sirens are functional. He then taught me how to test the speed radar to make sure it is accurate. He told me at the beginning of each day all of these elements should be done and the day after an arrest you should check the back seat to make sure there is not any left over items that could be used as evidence. The following day right off the bat the first thing my supervisor did was test me on these procedures, and of course being a ProRanger I passed with flying colors.
Later in the day, I learned how to dissemble and clean both a pistol and a shotgun. It is important to ensure the weapons will work when the time comes when you'll need to use them. Additionally, by cleaning the weapons we are preventing rusting of the weapon, which is especially important with the moisture filled air and climate here at Cape Hatteras.

Here at Cape Hatteras we take a lot of proactive measures. We try to keep the park as clean as possible. When surfers come, the park will get surf stickers placed on stop signs and other signs around the park. If we see this, we immediately remove them so people continue to respect the area and it does not attract other people to do the same thing in the future. Additionally, Mark Krebs and I fixed any signs we found that needed adjusting. With the changing tide, the 4x4 signs placed in the sand sometimes sink too low into the sand. With the big weekend approaching and the wave of people arriving, we wanted to make sure the signs were clearly visible to all the visitors. We raised the signs to about eye level and removed worn down signs with new ones, to make them more noticeable, readable, and help increase the compliance rate.

There was a tropical storm headed in our direction and so it created heavy waves and an extremely strong rip current. When Mark and I saw people far out in the water we stopped and took the time to tell them to be safe. We educated them on the dangers of the rip currents and what to do if they get stuck in a rip current. We wanted to proactively prevent as much injuries and deaths as possible. Even still, with approximately 30 miles of beach in our area, there were many water rescues called in to dispatch. In most cases the individuals swim out of the rip current themselves before situations get really serious. However, there were two instances that stood out. The first was an instance where two people had overturned their kayaks and were sucked into the rip current. Onlookers called 911 and dispatch notified everyone. As we were on the way, the situation intensified when the onlookers lost sight of one of the victims. A few seconds later the situation intensified even more when three different people went in the ocean to attempt to rescue the struggling individuals, but they themselves were also pulled into the rip current, making a total of 5 people in the water without any type of flotation or life saving devices. Since the number of distressed victims increased, more units were in route. Arriving on scene were the Hatteras Island Volunteer Rescue Squad, Dare County EMS, and Station 46 Avon Volunteer Fire Department. To ensure no confusion between the organizations an immediate chain of command was established under the chief of the rescue squad. I am relieved to say all individuals made it out of the water safely. The second incident involved a boy about 19 or 20 years old. He was surfing for the first time and immediately got pulled into the rip current. He struggled to get out and his friends yelled for him to try to swim back to shore. He struggled so much, ditched his surf board, kept trying to make it to shore, but continued to swallow so much sea water and began to tire. He was near drowning when Brooke, an off-duty lifeguard, arrived on the beach to because she left her blanket there. Without any flotation devices in her possession and without hesitation she yelled "Call 911" and immediately dove in the water after the boy. Hearing this on dispatch we were no more than 5 minutes away and arrived on scene in no time. The off-duty lifeguard used the surfboard as a flotation device and successfully got the boy out of the rip current and safely to shore. He was too weak to walk so my supervisor and I transported him off the beach to the EMS ambulance that arrived seconds later. The boy was so grateful to be alive and kept saying he swore he was going to die out there. He could not get over the fact that he was alive. It is truly remarkable that the off-duty lifeguard just happened to be there. She saved his life and he was truly grateful.

The following day, the lifeguards red flagged the section of the ocean they protected, meaning they recommended not going into the water. Mother nature was being vicious so to prevent as many water rescues or injuries caused by hazardous waves, they red flagged it. Again, the people at CAHA were trying to be proactive instead of reactive. so we took the time to warn people we saw in the water about the dangers of the waves and the rip current.


One early afternoon Mark and I stopped by the Interpretation Training session. He spoke about the current issues, informed the interpretive staff to keep a lookout for any suspicious activity, and told the staff not to hesitate to call for assistance. He told them they are the "eyes and ears" of the park. Due to the current tension between the park service and the locals surrounding the new regulations, new Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Permits, and the animal closures, Mark told everyone in the training to report any type of harassment they might receive from the locals or the local businesses.
With Memorial Day weekend being the unofficial jump start of summer, the park was prepared for the mass influx of visitors. This weekend was the big test as to see whether people will comply with the new ORV regulations put in place in February. As we patrolled the beach throughout the entire weekend, there was probably a 95% compliance rate for either weekly or yearly permits. I was quite surprised there was such a high compliance rate, especially with the high volume of cars on the beach. The Camp Point campground was closed during the holiday weekend because of the temporary safety stand down on mowing, which caused the campground site to not ill prepared for visitors. The snakes inhabiting the high grass posed a threat to visitors. Additionally, all the rain that has been hitting us lately has caused a lot of the campground to be swampy. The campground was just unfit for visitors. This resulted in 200 less spaces for campers. The Frisco Campground was completely full for the entire holiday and the extra campers were suggested to go to the nearby private campgrounds.

Overall the holiday weekend went smoothly. There were a total of 5 arrests, mostly surrounding alcohol use or possession of illegal substances. The day after the arrest at the start of my shift the first thing Mark asked me was, "What's the first thing you do after you arrest someone?" and my answer was "check the back seat for anything that might have dropped back there" and low and behold that is exactly what he had me do. From these arrests, I learned how to log all the evidence.

There were a few incidents in which passengers had open containers of alcohol in the car. Jim, one of my supervisors, has a knack for these things and reads people really well. He looks at their reaction to law enforcement and pays specific attention to detail. On one incident he was nearby Mark and I at a vehicle stop and watched the reactions of individuals driving by to our presence. He witnessed a passenger in a car notice us and put something down near his feet. Jim then also witnessed them fail to use a turn signal so he was able to pull them over for that, where just as he imagined, he came upon an open container in the car. Jim urges me to remember I have five senses and I can use every single one of them to scope out a situation. It is not so much about the little things, but more about safety of the drivers, passengers, and the other people on the road. We want to prevent drinking and driving, we want to prevent injuries, and we want to prevent death. The LE rangers here at Cape Hatteras are very proactive and very serious about the safety of others as well as the safety of themselves. This weekend I witnessed a lot of field sobriety tests. Moreover, I learned a whole lot.