Monday, June 4, 2012

Harpers Ferry NHP Summer Internship: Week #3

We started off the week with traffic stop scenarios. Park rangers Eric Sheetz and Anthony Arena helped us out by first showing us how they conduct their traffic stops, as well as our supervisor Mark Howard. We learned there are many different styles and approaches to conducting a traffic stop, and you must do what you feel most comfortable with. We learned many safety procedures as well because you’re safety is the most important thing. The scenarios got us thinking about what types of things we can say and how we will want to approach the situation. It is better for us to fumble over our words now as supposed to when we are in a real life situation.

We got the opportunity to write the reports for the warnings and citations we wrote the week before. Although it is not the most exciting work, it is very important and it was very interesting to see the path of these tickets and how they become processed.

Mark showed us how to disassemble and put back together again all the firearms they use. We each got a turn to dismantle and reassemble the shotgun, M16 rifle, and 9mm handgun. Becoming familiar with the weapons is significant so that when we need to use them we will be comfortable with them.

We got to check out a very interesting place called Willow Springs. It is a conservation of artifacts as well as where they do restorations. We got to see a signed letter from Robert E. Lee and a piece of his hair. We also saw many old park ranger uniforms, as well as original paintings and artifacts from many other parks including Gettysburg and Upper Delaware Water Gap. A very unique experience!
Friday night I (Jackie) got to shadow a Harpers Ferry Police Officer.  It was very exciting to see the similarities and differences with a town LE officer and the NPS LE officers. We made some regular traffic stops as well as a traffic stop with a man who had a suspended license and overdue fines and drugs. We had to drive him to the jail and it was very interesting to see the jail holding cells as well as the process that goes on when people come in. I learned a lot from this experience and from the Officer that let me shadow him. I hope to have more opportunities like this.
Saturday I (Renee) finished my S-130, which I am excited to receive my red card soon so I am able to fight forest fires when the time comes.  Park Ranger Melissa Boyce got a call from central about a domestic dispute at a popular party site called “Party Rock”.  It was interesting to see about five different police units from different districts come on scene.   The reason for this is because there are many different jurisdiction lines between Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.  Since the actual incident happened on the rock by the river it became DNR, Maryland’s case.  After that incident I (Renee) got to also shadow a Harpers Ferry Police Officer (Jeremy Burkholder). He showed me how to use the radar to check for speeders.  While on vehicle patrol, Jeremy got a call about an accident that happened on the “mountain” and we quickly went in route to the scene.  There was a truck smashed on the side of the road.  The man driving the truck was under the influence of alcohol.  This man is also a repeated offender.  It was great to be able to experience and shadow the Police Officer to see exactly what their day is like protecting the town of Harpers Ferry.  

We learned a great deal from the past week from firearms to paperwork, and have even more diverse learning experiences coming up. Stay tuned…

-Jackie Innella and Renee Benson

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