Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mount Rushmore Week 6

This past week I was working the evening shift doing several ride-alongs and foot patrols.  I rode with a few different rangers including Rangers Sarah Kimball, Duane Grego, and my supervisor Brad Eggers.  Every time I was in the car I learned very valuable tips for my career in law enforcement.  Rangers Kimball and Grego both explained to me certain ways of approaching a vehicle while on a traffic stop.  You should not slam or shut your car door loudly because it can give the driver a sense of how many officers are present as well as notify them that you are approaching.  It is also smart to approach the passenger side for several reasons: the driver is not expecting you to come to that side, it provides protection from oncoming traffic, and it allows for an escape route away from the road and vehicle if the situation would become dangerous.  Also, when approaching for the second time they suggested occasionally going to the opposite side that you did the first time to keep the driver on their toes and to make your actions less predictable.  Ranger Grego also used the term “car is your coffin”.  He explained to me that the longer you are stationary sitting in your vehicle, the bigger a target you can become.  If the driver you have stopped wants to hurt you, the first place they will aim for is the two front seats.  Grego is usually unbuckled by the time he stops the vehicle and immediately gets out of the car.  This makes him a moving target instead of a sitting duck and will allow him quicker access to his weapon if need be.

Unlucky mountain goat.

I again spent some time on the mountain.  I did a solo front country hike which consists of hiking up the front of the mountain into the Hall of Records canyon and on top of the heads.  Ranger Kimball and I also did an up-and-over climb which is exactly what it sounds like.  We climb up the front of the mountain, on top of the heads, and continue back down the back side of the mountain.  While on our hike we saw the remains of an unfortunate mountain goat that was most likely eaten by a mountain lion some time ago.    
Another duty of the evening shift is to attend the Evening Program held in the park amphitheater.  Here at Mount Rushmore, the park is open until 10pm. and provides an Evening Program each night consisting of a ten minute ranger talk, and twenty minute video, and the lighting of the Memorial.  They end the program by asking all past and present military to come up on stage and lower the flag for the evening.  It is always a very moving ceremony that many visitors come to see.  As LE rangers, we typically walk around observing the crowd before the program and then stand above the amphitheater during the duration of the program.  Having LE presence during the program is helpful for assisting visitors as well as helps deter any crime from occurring. 
Mount Rushmore National Memorial at night.

Ranger Grego and Aba at work.

Ranger Grego is also the park’s explosives detection K-9 ranger.  I was able to work with him and Aba, the awesome explosives detection K-9, by helping with their training.  As a K-9 ranger, they must conduct at least sixteen hours of training sessions a month and record the details of each one.  I helped out by putting out the explosives hides so that there would be no interference by Grego when he is leading Aba.  If Grego would put out his own hides, there could be a chance of him subconsciously changing his behavior which Aba would pick up on and ultimately affect her search.  When leading Aba, Grego is always keeping his feet moving because stopping could be some type of indication to Aba that she’s in the right spot.  Any connection that Aba makes with his actions can be detrimental to the validity of their search.  They train in both buildings and the open areas within the park to get a wide range of practice.  Aba is a play-trained K-9 and is rewarded with a tennis ball when she finds a hide.  They are a great pair to see in action and the visitors love to say hello!

Searching the parking garage.
Conducting a building search.
On Friday while on patrol with Ranger Kimball, we were able to get into a pretty interesting traffic stop.  We were stationary in a pull-out running radar, when we see an older truck speeding down the hill doing about ten over the speed limit.  We pulled the driver over and I called in the plate to dispatch.  After Kimball approached the car and received the driver’s identification, she observed two open containers in the cab of the vehicle.  After running the driver, we were informed that he was driving on a revoked license and was a registered sex offender.  The local Federal Judge states that stopping a revoked driver results in the appropriate tickets and a mandatory appearance.  However, unsure of what action to take, Kimball called the County Sheriff to see if they’d want to take over the case.  They agreed, which resulted in the Pennington County Deputy to come and arrest the individual for driving while on a revoked license.  This was a great learning experience for me about local and federal law as well as represented the great working relationship between the park and local law enforcement.

Mount Rushmore continues to present many great learning and training experiences that I will hold with me throughout my career!
ProRanger Erin Langeheine              

No comments:

Post a Comment