Friday, August 9, 2013

Cuyahoga Valley NP Week 11

I started and ended this week with a 'Safe is Sound' Safety Stop. A couple Trailblazers and I set up at Lock 29, a popular entrance to the Towpath. We had stickers and pamphlets to talk about safety, especially for bikers. Both days were weekend days, and the weather was nice so a lot of people were out. On days like these it is always very busy with hikers, runners, bikers, and people just going for a leisurely stroll. The towpath becomes very busy, and especially at the trailheads. We set up right along Lock 29 to talk to people as they came on the Towpath. We reminded bikers about courtesy and informing someone if you are passing; we reminded people on foot to watch out for bikers and others, and many other basic safety steps everyone can take to try to make the Towpath just a little more safe. We handed out stickers to kids and reminded them about being safe, and the importance of helmets.

I got a chance to do a ride along with Ranger Donathan again. That evening a concert was going on at the local music center. A large amount of traffic was coming in, so we were watching traffic to make sure everything was going alright. We started following a vehicle and running its tag because it failed to stop at a stop sign when we saw a car on the side of the road. We pulled over to do a welfare check, and turns out it was underage adults drinking, and they had been driving. I got to watch Donathan perform a Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and use the breathalyzer. They were all issued with possession of alcohol. 

Ranger Pugh was also working that shift, and I got to see how to Officers can really work together. Whenever one would be on a traffic stop the other Ranger would come to help out and make sure everything was okay. If the traffic stop turned out to be more serious (with alcohol or drugs for that night, or anything else) the other Ranger was very useful and needed. This way one could be watching the individuals while the other searched the vehicle, performed the SFST on one of the individuals, write citations or any other tasks that needed to be performed. When the traffic stop was clear they would go back out in the field and the other one would end up with a vehicle and they just kept taking turns like this and being back up for the other. It was great to see the teamwork, and how important it is to trust and know your coworkers. I got to watch many more SFSTs, many vehicle searches yielding in drugs, dealing with many different types of people, adults and juveniles, handling writing citations, Officer discretion, and the list goes on. One unique instance happened when Donathan was on a traffic stop with some adults drinking, and Pugh and I were standing there when a vehicle pulled up along the side of the road behind us. We walked over to see what was going on and a man and a woman both came out, the woman was holding a baby and crying. Neither of them spoke English well and we were trying to figure out what was going on. It was a little confusing since this woman seemed very upset, but we were able to figure out they were lost and trying to get home. We gave them directions and they understood and went on their way. It goes to show that even if you are out on a traffic stop and have everything in control, you still never know what may happen or what to expect. So always being aware of your surrounds is very important. I learned a great deal that night and was very excited I got to witness such a breadth of different cases in a single shift.

When I was back with Ranger Stell, he went over handcuffs with me. We talked about how to load them up in your carrier, and taking them out so they are positioned in the most efficient way. I got to work on them and get a feel for them and locking them. Then a good friend of the Rangers- Handcuff Man came out to help. I got a chance to learn about the handcuffing techniques from standing, kneeling, and prone. Depended on which position the person you are handcuffing is in, you want to be in your best spot to remain in control. Body position and movement and placement are very important and I got to go through the motions so I have a basic idea on how it is done. I learned other important concepts like keeping a distance away from the person until ready with the handcuffs, the bigger the threat the lower they go on the ground, and more. It was a great basic lesson and very important because I will need this for my career. 


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