Sunday, June 16, 2013
INDE Week 3
Independence Hall National Historical Park
Today I arrived at INDE early to put my vest on underneath my uniform. I will be around the Law Enforcement division the whole summer, and if anything was to happen I would use this bullet proof vest to protect myself. I logged onto the Gov computer and immediately checked my emails. After that I went out into the field briefly to see if I could make any contacts. I was able to give directions to a few visitors and then start conversation with Sectek guard Dana. Just like the other Sectek guards, Mr. Dana informs me about the history here in Philadelphia. He also congratulates me on my internship and shakes my hand. It really feels amazing to be a part of an agency who has a strong mission with employees working together to achieve it. After talking with him I headed back to 339.
At 339 (Ranger Station) Supervisor Snow assigns me 4 courses on DOI LEARN to complete. One of them is an ethics course and another one is about safety. These two of the four are important to me because it’s very critical to behave in a professional manner and also working as safely as possible. I hadn't started any of the 4 yet, but I cannot wait until I have down time to start them. As the day progressed I went out into the field with Ranger Melissa to Washington square. At Washington square we found tire tracks alongside the pavement. The tire tracks had damaged the dirt and really take away from the scenery. Melissa used the parks digital camera to photograph pictures for evidence. After that Melissa and I went throughout the park to lock gates and check doors. Now, since I have my own set of keys Melissa and I can lock the gates twice as fast.
A few moments later we drove to Franklin court. I think Franklin court is becoming one of my favorite places here at INDE. From a visitors stand point Franklin court sits on Market Street and appears to be a local shop. However, Franklin court is so much more. Inside Franklin court you can see demonstrations on how people lived and worked in the past. It has so many antique mechanisms, it is incredible. In this area there is also a uniform cache. I sign out a pair of pants and Melissa signs out a shirt. We clear a few other areas in the park and return to 339.
At 339 I decide to clean out the Law Enforcementsdivision’s refrigerator in the basement. It took me almost a whole hour to clean the fringe and freezer but it was worth it, plus everyone knows some things you can’t rush if you want to do it right.
Once I’m done cleaning I return to the office to log onto the computer. I edit last week’s blog and post it onto the ProRanger blog website. I also got started on week 3’s blog. In the office Ranger Juan advises me to incorporate more stretching into my daily workout routine. He shows me some easy to do stretches in the office and I imitate the exercises he does. Juan is right; I need to stretch more because I realized how stiff I am. Today has been a productive day and I look forward to tomorrow. I ended my shift at 0330.
Today was a rainy day so most of the day I stayed indoors. The park usually isn't busy during rainy weather conditions. Inside 339 I logged onto the government computers and started checking and replying to emails. I do this every day at different times because I like to give speedy response when someone reaches out to me via email. I also log into employee express and DOI-learn as well. Tonight I started and finished an overview course about the history of the NPS. The course was broken up into 3 modules and within each one I learned something new about the parks service. I learned that the Organic Act of 1916, created the National Parks Service. I also learned that the NPS is under the executive government branch. After completing the course I truly understand why it was assigned to me. I recommend everyone who is new to the National Parks Service take this course because it contains lots of information about the agency. It took me longer than expected to complete this course because I had gotten distracted multiple times by good conversation and updates about the activity in the park. Eventually I did finish the entire course and I am happy to have completed ¼ of the courses assigned to me by my supervisor.
Later, Ranger Melissa invited me to complete area checks with her in the Tahoe. Riding around in the Tahoe is great because it allows us to check the hot spots of the park. Car Patrol is faster than walking or biking and it allows me to stay off my feet as much as possible. We cleared Welcome Park, Christ Church and checked around Washington Square. The few visitors that were out were behaving themselves and enjoying the park so we didn't need to contact anyone. We both took lunch breaks and met back up to complete PT exercises in the MEB. The MEB is another important facility here in the park. It houses a lot of the offices for the parks Rangers and also has a nice gym/aerobics room in the basement. Another good thing about interning here at INDE is that the Customs House which is also called the Northeast regional office has a gym room in the basement as well. So technically I have two gyms in the area I can use. At the gym Melissa and I both used the free weights to warm up. After my heart rate rose and I started to break a sweat I jumped on the elliptical and completed a 10 min work out followed by more stretching and sit ups on the mat. I get back on the elliptical for 10 more minutes and hit the free weights to finish up. I like to work out in my own time but to work with law enforcement and be granted 3 hours a week to exercise is a wonderful thing. While I was using the elliptical for cardio, Melissa used the bike. We finished our work out and reported back to duty at 339.
At 339 I started working on the inventory report for the park. Since I started so late in the night I decide to do as much as I can before my shift ends. I actually clear the whole building except 2 rooms that I will finish my next shift. I found a lot of unused equipment like a computer, a few sets of speakers, a whole copy/printer/scanner and a few other electronics. I determined that these things were not being used because they are not plugged into anything and have collected long term dust. Most of these things I found tossed to the side, in a corner or closet. I collect as much information as possible like their serial numbers, property numbers and a brief description of the products. I finish my shift by updating my blog with the things I have done today. Again, I end my shift at 0330.
18th Century Garden
Tuesday, I arrived at Independence Hall National Historical Park an hour and ¼ before my normal scheduled time so that I could meet Ranger Alan who is the security specialist. To my knowledge Alan works close with all the divisions at this park. He is the go to guy for all employees. Alan was not at his office so I will try to meet back up with him another time. Outside the M.E.B I got the chance to meet L.E Ranger Mary who needed my help bringing some items into the M.E.B. After assisting her I headed back to ranger station 339 to talk with the L.E Rangers from the day shift. Near the ranger station is a beautiful area. The area is called the 18th Century Garden because it was designed to look exactly like gardens did in the 1700’s. The garden contains a walking trail to navigate throughout and gazebos to shade the visitors from the sun. This location at INDE is so beautiful I suggest every visitor check it out when touring. I mentally cleared the area by myself and walked into 339. My supervisor had not come into the station yet so I took this time to log onto DOI-Learn.
18th Century Garden
On DOI-Learn I signed in and began the second of four online training courses that I need to complete. While reading the information from the modules I took very brief breaks to converse with the staff and see what was going on in the park. Halfway through the course my supervisor came into office and spoke to the new seasonal LE Ranger Martina. Martina told me that she has worked at quit a few National Parks, but she informed me that she thinks Glacier was the most beautiful. Supervisor Trouper gave Martina and I a task to go online and research information for him. I recently took a research and analysis class and I believe it helps to gain information on something you may know nothing about before hand. Also, I think being proactive in law enforcement is a necessity because people react to crime, but there are ways to deter crime from the beginning.
On my way to the M.E B
Later in the evening, I followed the LE Rangers to the M.E.B because a fire alarm had gone off. The local fire department also responded to the alarm. The LE Rangers and the Fire Fighters all cleared the M.E.B and found it to be safe. Watching the Rangers work with the Fire Fighters was a great experience for me. To see civil servants responding to an incident together shows how good the communication is here at INDE. Once every one left the M.E.B I started closing gates. I have noticed that working with other rangers to close gates is a great opportunity to have intellectual conversation.
One of the park areas we have to close at night is Magnolia Garden. This area like most is very grassy and has a nice fountain that adds to the scenery. After closing gates I went on a ride along with Ranger Melissa. Melissa and I cannot conduct bike patrol yet. So I am able to accompany her with car and foot patrol .We cleared a few important areas of the park. The rest of the night was slow in the park . S. I headed to the ranger station and ended my shift.
My final work day of the week I arrive 30 minutes early. I believe one of my weaknesses is time management and I’m using this experience to help me better myself. This whole summer I plan on arriving to work on time, if not before, and bringing my positive attitude with me. After I completely put on my uniform, bullet proof vest and belt gear, I take care of a few housekeeping tasks. Today, I brought in my own lock to put on my locker. I want to make sure my property is safe and locked away. Also having a locker makes it easier for me to leave things at the ranger station instead of toting my gear back and forth every day. I logged onto the computer and check my emails shortly after.
Around 1300 I began typing up an inventory report that I had started for my supervisor a few days ago. I start this task while the day and night shift communicate in the background with the supervisor. Although I am not finished the assignment yet, I want to get feedback from my supervisor so that I can make sure I’m on the right track. Like every other night the rangers and I clear some park property, lock gates and patrol the park. Later, I headed to 339 and converse with the night shift rangers. I had another interesting conversation with Ranger Martina; she is a seasonal Ranger with a lot of experience. She reminds me that this is her 6th park she has served. She also informed me about her experience at the seasonal ranger academy, giving me some helpful advice about physical training (PT) and being a proactive ranger. The rest of the night I worked on my Pro Ranger Blog post, which is very important to me. I want everyone to see how much I’m learning and how much fun I’m having at the same time. I took a break from the field and the blog and went to the M.E.B to work out. Having a gym on site is definitely a perk because at my last internship all rangers had to go off park property to work out. At the gym I use the elliptical, and the free weights. I return to 339 to add to my blog. I ended my work week and headed home.
-Thank you for reading my post