Thursday, June 30, 2016

Down By The River

Week 4 was the most action-packed week in terms of law enforcement experience. A total of 8 agencies took place in the Platte River Saturation Patrol on Saturday, including the NPS, DNR (Department of Natural Resources), Benzie County Sheriff's Office, Michigan State Police, and Traverse Narcotics Team. The Platte River is a popular destination for people on kayaks, canoes, and tubes to float down and enjoy a day on the water. It is the ideal environment to bring your family and friends for some relaxing time in the outdoors. The goal of the saturation patrol was to help restore the friendly environment that has fallen victim to underage drinking, drug usage, and glass bottles.

Platte River Saturation Patrol
I learned a lot of great skills during the patrol. I was stationed with Ranger Mazurek, Ranger Chalup, and Ranger Westenfelder, who are all extremely experienced and were quick to show me the ropes. Ranger Mazurek was on the lookout upriver and would communicate to me what he sees through radio, and I would pass that information to Ranger Chalup and Ranger Westenfelder. They would then make the necessary contacts in our attempt to clean up the river.

Being a ProRanger, it is always a balancing act of what we can and can't do because we aren't the typical ranger. Being very involved while having a direct impact on who gets contacted, taking notes on ranger's observations, and communicating under stressful situations was exceptionally rewarding. Just during one day, we witnessed multiple cases of PCS (possession of a controlled substance), MIP (minors in possession of alcohol), public intoxication, and even responded to a heart attack.

Not too many pictures were taken due to the high volume of people, contacts, and being engaged in the task at hand.
The Platte River Saturation Patrol was a great way to show that rangers are out and about. In no way is this operation a secret, and the overall public response was positive. Protecting the parks is the responsibility of everyone involved, and hopefully because of these patrols, more people will be able to enjoy this place in a healthy manner. My week continued as I was able to patrol with Ranger Mazurek. 

Being here for 16 years, Ranger Nate Mazurek knows this park like the back of his hand. He knows where people like to hang out, where illegal activities happen, and most importantly, where to get the best snacks. He has been a great mentor to me, and I am excited to spend more time with him. In addition to daily patrol, he also gave me the opportunity to see the Leelanau County Dispatch Center. 

Multi-tasking professionals.
Leelanau County Dispatch Center
It was nice to see the faces of the voices that I have heard for the past month. The dispatchers do amazing work for the park and county, and I can't stress the importance of their job. During my hour at dispatch there were multiple 911 calls, and a large amount of miscellaneous calls such as traffic stops and location check-ins. It takes a special and talented person to work for dispatch. 

The days at SLBE are still exciting, action-packed, and rewarding. Plus, it doesn't hurt to unwind at a bonfire on the beach with friends after a day of work. 

"Pure Michigan"

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