Monday, July 17, 2017

It's Not Always about Patrol: Training, Weapons, and the CFR

Patrol Car we used to Simulate a stopped car for training
Hello Everybody! Hope everyone’s summers are continuing to go well and that you all are staying cool as much as you can! Another packed week has gone by here at Hot Springs National Park, as it is starting to heat up more by the day here. During my first day back to work after two days off, I was able to head over to the maintenance yard to check the fire engine and make sure all fluid levels were topped off and that the truck was running without a problem. Everything checked out fine, including all the pumps as I flowed water without problem through the trucks water pumping system. After I completed the check of the fire engine, I headed back to the office to do some paperwork and work on projects for the rest of the night, as it was a paperwork kind of day for everyone working.


I was able to type up a sheet that has all of the 36 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Violation codes. The 36 CFR is the book that the NPS Resource and Protection Rangers (Law Enforcement) uses to reference violations that they can cite for in the park. NPS Protection Rangers can also adopt/assimilate state laws that they can enforce as well, as the most commonly adopted laws are vehicle violations.  Hot Springs has exclusive jurisdiction, which means only the Protection Rangers can enforce the 36 CFR and state adopted violations within the boundaries of the park. Hot Springs National Park does have Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with local, county, and state police so that if assistance is needed on a call or event, those agencies can come in the park and carry out law enforcement duties corresponding to the situation. Our rangers are also deputized by the county, which means we can assist the county and local police if they require our assistance at any time. A good example from this summer would be when we were conducting our DUI checkpoint, the local and county departments knew and had units available to help us if needed, such as if a purist happened or something to that nature. Information like this is key that we know and understand where we can and cannot enforce the laws set forth by the country and states/local agencies, and if we are allowed to help other agencies during large incidents. It’s also vital we know what section the violations are in in the CFR so that we can write a ticket more efficiently while paying attention to the scene going on around us instead of having to look for it and not being able to pay the amount of attention we need to on the scene.

Sig Sauer P229 Handgun
I began the next day training with Supervisory Ranger Johnson on firearms, and then later moved onto traffic stops. The first topic that Ranger Johnson and I went over was how to clear and field strip a .45 caliber Sig Sauer Pistol. Clearing the weapon is when you make sure the weapon is clear of any ammunition, and that the magazine is released and cleared from the weapon during the process. Field stripping a weapon means disassembling the weapon so that you are able to clean all of the substantial parts of the weapon that it needs to operate without fault. Parts such as the spring, barrel, and areas such as the ejection part, slide catch, and slide all need to be cleaned and lubricated after a day at the range or after an incident that requires the firing of the weapon.

AR-15 Rifle- Note: Not to specification of NPS
After talking about clearing and stripping pistols, we then went over what the annual qualifications are to qualify on all the weapons. The weapons needed to be qualified on are: 12 gauge shotgun, AR-15 or M-16, and the Sig Sauer Pistol. You can also choose to carry a backup handgun, and if so you also need to qualify on that as well. The qualifications can be found in our RM-9 manual, which is the National Park Service Law Enforcement Manual that lays out many different guidelines and has answers to many questions that pertain to the operation of the Protection Division. To qualify, you have to shoot at different distances, with your strong and weak hand (handgun), and got to qualify at both daytime and nighttime.

Dummy Rounds
After talking about qualifications that day, we got into different stances Rangers use, and along with that Ranger Johnson gave me suggestions on what to do to fix some problems that I have had while shooting handguns throughout my life. We talked about stances and gripping the firearm, as I found I use the same stance and grip Ranger Johnson does, which has worked well with both of us. My problem I have dealt with is anticipating the shot, and in doing so I am pulling the gun down to the left, which throws off the accuracy of the shot. Ranger Johnson suggested two different things to try. The first was to dry fire the weapon. The second was for me to purchase dummy rounds to put into the magazine with live ammunition, so while at the range I won’t know which round it will be, therefore hopefully to eventually eliminate my anticipation problem. I will be using both techniques when I get home to better my shooting skills, as I am also going to work on my trigger pull as well to better my aim and become more accurate.

NPS Vehicles Parked on traffic stop
To end the day with Ranger Johnson, we went over the different approaches to doing a car stop. Ranger Johnson first had me do a car stop as I would do it with my training thus far, then we would go over how he does his stops during the daytime as well as at night. After my stop, Ranger Johnson pointed out that if possible, it is better to approach the passenger side then it is the driver side, as on my stop I approached the driver side. The reason he explained for this is that while on the passenger side, you can get a better viewpoint of the driver and clear the car with more protection to yourself. After going into more detail, we then went over night stops. Night stops are different because we use our spotlight to blind the driver. The reason for doing so is that the driver cannot see us approaching the car, as well as to light up the car so we can see the suspects and the contents of the car. In order to do passenger sides approach at night, Ranger Johnson explained that you walk around your patrol car and up to the driver side of the vehicle so that you don’t walk in front of the light and give away your position. Learning all of this information and being able to add it was a valuable learning day, and the lessons I will take with me throughout my career and adapt them to what works best for me and the situation that I find myself in at that point and time. Below is a YouTube video Ranger Johnson emailed me the day after that shoes the advantages to a passenger side stop. Video Discretion Advised.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irPrIAVnjqU (View after reading last paragraph, opens up on same tab) 


Variety of Window Punches Law Enforcement Uses
To finish the night after working on a few computer projects, Ranger Summerlin went over a use of force incident the night before. The use of force incident involved having to smash a window in order to get the suspect out of the car. I was able to view body cam video, which showed the steps in which Ranger Summerlin followed until it became time to use a more forceful measure to get the individual out of the vehicle. It was a very good learning experience as Ranger Summerlin is very good at explaining the reasons for why you do one tactic over the other, as he has had many experiences in having to use different measures for varying non-compliant individuals. As the last tip for the night, he advised me to get and keep a window punch on me at all times, so that it will be much easier than using a baton to attempt to break a window. Great lessons were learned all day long, and I am appreciating more and more each day that I am able to spend my time at a very busy park, with Rangers that have a wide range of knowledge that are willing to share it with me to take forward in my career.

1 comment:

  1. I found this blog after a long time which is really helpful to let understand different approaches. I am going to adopt these new point to my career and thankful for this help.
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