Monday, June 10, 2013

My Second week at Independence Hall National Historical Park
Sunday I arrived at INDE, 30 minutes before my shift started so I could change into proper uniform. After that I greeted the morning Law Enforcement (LE) staff and waited for the rest of the night staff to arrive. I checked my government emails and started finishing up my blog entry from the previous week.  I try to use my down time to focus on the ProRanger program. After handling some housekeeping I tagged along with LE Ranger Melissa to close some of the park's gates. A lot of the property here at INDE closes around sunset so LE Rangers make sure that the doors and gates are locked. I enjoyed conversing with Melissa because she started in the ProRanger program and then got her permanent placement at INDE. Since she was once in my shoes, she was able to give me a lot of helpful advice. While locking gates we came in brief contacts with a few visitors enjoying the park. 

Ranger Melissa Locking Christ Church

After dinner LE Ranger Juan and I were asked to clean and organize office space in the Merchants Exchange Building (MEB). INDE is expecting a new administration employee and we all wanted that person to have a nice and clean work environment. We got rid of trash, wiped down the desk, relocated old equipment and organized a lot of paperwork. In the middle of cleaning there was a call by dispatch indicating that a general alarm had went off in one of the buildings so I had went back to the Ranger Station .Juan had left to assist his fellow  LE Rangers. When Juan returned with the others they told me that nothing had happened and everything was OK  Juan and I went back to the Merchants Exchange Building and finished cleaning the office. Cleaning the office took up the rest of the night. At the end of shift we both logged onto our computers to complete paper work. I am proud of the work that we did today, and I hope the new employee coming likes their new, clean office.

Office Before and After.

Monday was my fourth day working here at Interdependence Hall National Historical Park. I arrived at the ranger station a few minutes early to handle some housekeeping and get ready for the start of my shift. I am greeted at the door of the ranger station by a K-9 named Ken. At first he barked from a distance. He settled down quickly and I changed into my uniform.  I spoke with my supervisor Ranger Snow and he gave me my duties for the day. I was told to accompany Rangers Juan and Melissa while they screen and escort FRIENDS group of independence through the Liberty Bell Center (LBC) around 1800hr for a tour. I was also told to go through some personal property found here in the park, make a report and list the property so we could identify and contact the owner.

Liberty Bell Center

Juan rode his patrol bike to the LBC but Melissa and I walked. We met Juan there and waited for the Friends of Independence with two interpretation rangers. When the FRIENDS of Independence arrived they were screened and escorted into the LBC.  After the tour of the LBC the Friends group went to Independence Hall and I waited for them at the end where they exited the building and finished the tour.  When FRIENDS left I introduced myself to one of the Sectek contracted guards. The Sectek Guards help the LE rangers here at INDE protect the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall from visitors. The guard Diana that I met was nice and very informed about the history here at INDE. She informed me that she enjoyed working in this area and that I was going to have a great summer working with all the rangers.  

I read that the area around Independence hall is called Independence square. INDE is so peaceful now it’s hard to believe that citizens used to use this land to protest British policies in the 1770’s. Commodore Barry has a statue in front of Independence Hall. I found it interesting to learn that the Commodore’s statue sits in front of Independence Hall. A lot of visitor and even me assumed that he stands in the back, but that is not correct. After my conversation with the Sectek guard Diana I went back to the ranger station to get started on the property report. The property found were bags of clothes, documents and hygiene products in a blue pushing cart. I was able to use some of the documents to find a name and address for the person who should be the owner. I created a detailed list of the personal property found, along with the name and the address of the person who I believe it belonged to. I ended my shift riding along with LE Ranger Melissa visually checking some of the parks hot spots.  After everything was clear we rode back to the Ranger station (339) and I packed up to end my shift.

Commodore Barry

Tuesday I started my shift already in uniform. I logged onto the government computer and checked my emails. I read an email about Park Ranger Nick Hall’s serious accident report and how important it is for all rangers to always respond to incidents in a safely manner. No matter how routine a task might be, we must comply with all safety procedures.  I believe situations like these are real eye openers for people like me who are entering employment in the Park Service and reminders for current employees to react safely to incidents.

As my shift continued I started revising the property report I had completed the day before. I was informed by my supervisor Ranger Snow that my report needed more details about the property found, so that we can have more insight on the individual. I really appreciate Ranger Snow’s direction because I truly want to become the best Law Enforcement Park Ranger I can be. I safely went back into the property, using gloves and gathered more information to make my property report more detailed and descriptive. I collected and wrote down all the information from the important documents I found.Going through the property a second, more rigorous time, I found a second cell phone and I took the battery out of them both and wrote down the serial numbers found on the backs. I took a break from the property report and went to do building checks with one of the rangers.

Property Assignment

A Ranger and I completed building checks in Franklin court, which consists of historical buildings including Benjamin Franklin's Post office. Today that post office is still a functioning United States post office. After clearing the area with dispatch, I was dropped off at the Ranger Station while  a few other Rangers responded to an intrusion alarm. While they did that I spoke with my supervisor about the different types of alarms at INDE. He told me that an intrusion alarm rings when there is motion detected in a closed and secured building. Here at INDE there are also water censored alarms as well as fire alarms. These two alarms are very important because there are so many old and irreplaceable buildings and property in this park, that in order to preserve and protect everything these alarm systems are necessary. Once the Rangers cleared the Building they reported back to the station and informed everyone that nothing or no one was found. It was a false alarm.  I went back to clearing park property and started at the Pemberton complex and checked to make sure the doors were locked. We cleared the inside and out then moved on to 2nd bank. Second bank is a very important building here because not only was it the 2nd established bank in the United States but currently it houses very important artwork of the nations original leaders like Mr. Stephen Decatur known for his naval victories in the early 19th century. I snapped a few pictures for the blog and we closed and locked the back exit of the building. Also I want to inform my readers about how well the park is structure to accommodate persons with disabilities. 2nd bank has a separate entrance for people with disabilities and it is decorated very nicely to entertain them. 2nd bank has a ramp and elevators to assist; the accommodations in this building are well designed.

2nd Bank

While locking gates, Juan and Melissa had made a contact with a visitor who had been sleeping on one of the parks benches. For safety purposes I was not included in this contact and I waited for them in a different area of the park. Once they had completed the contact they told me they had noticed the visitor had alcoholic beverages in his bag. Using their discretion as law enforcement officers carefully handled the situation. They met back up with me and I headed to the ranger station to work on some more paper work.

I got to the ranger station (339) and had a very intellectual conversation with Trouper, Dottie and Juan about the Pro Ranger program, what I should be looking forward to at the seasonal law enforcement academy and FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center). Trouper suggested I review the constitution and know the amendments because I could only call off the first two when he put me on the spot. I can see that I was given a great opportunity to work under Trouper. He knows a ton of things that LE Park Rangers need to know in order to perform their everyday duties effectively. I ended the night writing emails, updating my property report, doing online research on the history here at INDE, and continuing my ProRanger blog.

Currently, Wednesdays are my Fridays; I work Sunday to Wednesday . That is called 4 tens, which means I work 4 days a week all 10 hour shifts. Working these long hours has definitely made me appreciate sleeping a lot more. I do however enjoy working this shift because I do get 3 consecutive days off after working the 4. I came into the office and was introduced to a few day shift rangers who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet. I usually ask all the rangers the same questions when I meet them. How long have you worked for the park service? How many parks have you served? And do you see yourself moving around or to another park anytime soon? These questions let me learn more about them and more about the park or parks they have worked at. I really appreciate the honesty and positive energy the LE rangers have. I am so optimistic; I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead of me.

After my brief introduction and questioning I went straight to work on my property report. I have been working on it for a few days now and I really want to do a good job on it. I go through the property one last time to see if I could find any additional information to include in the report. Good thing I did because I found another medication, with contact information on the individual whom owns it. I added a few things to my property report and removed things that do not help.  I finished the report and sent it to my supervisor to review. Before the weekly briefing with LE staff, my supervisor Ranger Snow presented me with my staff keys, access card and buffalo badge. I really felt official once I was given these things because the Buffalo badge represents all park rangers working for the National Parks Service.

Around 1900 all Law enforcement rangers, the supervisor Ranger Snow and I went to the Liberty Bell Center (LBC) to have our weekly briefing. This is my second time sitting in this meeting and I think it is very helpful when it comes to getting everyone on the same page and updating old information. In the meeting they discussed a few accidents that happen in the park recently and things that rangers should keep in mind when contacting visitors and other employees. The meeting lasted about an hour and I walked back to ranger station 339 to check my emails. My supervisor had already checked my property report and told me that I did a great job. I was happy with his speedy response and got to working on my blog because I had some down time.

Towards the end of my shift Ranger Juan took me to Deshler Morris house which is about 20 minutes away from the park. The cool thing about Independence Hall National Historical Park is its spottiness. You can literally be on park property and within a few steps you’re off. Getting familiar with the parks jurisdiction is one of my main goals this summer. Anyway the Deshler-Morrison house is very unique because it is the oldest official presidential residence. It is named after its first owner Deshler and its last Morrison. Morrison donated the house to the National Park Service and it is managed by the staff at INDE. The remainder of the night Ranger Juan, Stevens and I cleared the parks warehouse and Christ Church. These are also distant sites of INDE. Luckily, I work Wednesday night and during that time there is enough Law Enforcement Rangers working that we actually can get away from the park and check the other locations. I returned to 339 and ended my shift at 0330. Week 2 has been very interesting.

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