Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ProRanger in a Big Red Suit: Friend or Foe

Only I Would Smile While Getting Bit!
This last week of work couldn’t have started out any more perfect, as I was able to get into a K9 training bite suit and help in training Canine Konyak with Ranger Little. This would be my first time in a bite suit and be getting bit, and you think I would be nervous, but I had no nerves just plenty of excitement. On our way to the spot we used for training, Ranger Little was explaining the many different scenarios that can occur that would require a bite or release of a K9 on a call. He also explained to me the importance of training and how he needs to record it after every training day so that if asked for it in court due to the use of K9 Konyak, he has the records to prove that Konyak is a highly trained and successful canine. Every week on Wednesday Ranger Little and Konyak train in the morning for a few hours with Hot Springs Police Departments K9 teams, which they have 6 of. The combined training is beneficial first off because it allows for all the units to know each other and what each canine can do if they need to work together. It also is beneficial because it helps form a closer working relationship with Hot Springs PD who we interact with and help a lot.

Obidience Before Bite 
When we arrived at the training grounds, Ranger Little did a few rounds of obedience skills with Konyak before I was to put on the suit and be a “big toy” for him. K9 Konyak performed all the obedience skills perfectly, and now was time for me to put on the bite suit. As I was putting on the suit, Ranger Little was teaching me the way to give Konyak my arm and how to act and play when he was on the bite. I also realized as I was putting on my suit that this thing was hot, and it was 90 degrees out so it would make for a sweaty time. After getting the suit on and learning how to fight/play with Konyak when on the bight, I took my position as we were going to do three evolutions. All three of those evolutions went perfectly with K9 Konyak showing excellent obedience when being walked around me but not allowed to engage, and showed excellent and amazing strength as well as skill while on the bite. After the exercise, we went back to the office to get a bite to eat and something to drink, as well as throw the ball to K9 Konyak. Now him and I were best friends again as I was throwing his favorite toy to him, while just a few minutes before he thought I was the foe. I was very glad to be able to finally participate in a K9 training like this, as well as being able to learn a bunch of how the trainings go, the language spoken to Konyak for him to obey, and the importance of training and cataloging all the training he goes through. Along with training having to be reported, whenever Konyak is used either on a traffic stop, search, etc. it also needs to be reported and logged for reports so that the Chief knows. I hope to be able to join this program one day, as it is one of the most rewarding programs I see in the law enforcement and ranger field.

Konyak is a leg grabber! Extra Strength for Sure!
Later that night while out on patrol, we conducted a few vehicles stops in where Ranger Little conducted car searches. It was a good night for me to learn about how he conducts his searches as every ranger has a different method of doing it (similar but small quirks). Ranger Little also explained to me the way he goes about asking the driver or owner of the car if he can search it. He explained to me that he thinks it is very important to make sure that the driver/owner of the car has their paperwork back (ID, Insurance) before you ask for a consent search of the car. This is so that they know they have their information back and that they may feel more comfortable at that point allowing an officer to search the car. Later that night right before the end of our shift, we stopped yet another repeat offender that Ranger Little and I have stopped twice for driving on a suspended drivers license. Ranger Little again performed a vehicle search on the car with the agreement of the driver for him to do so, where he confiscated a suspected Marijuana Pipe from the car. Two citations were given as he had a passenger in the car, and they had to get picked up and the car home in some other way.

Tow Company retreiving car from
accident scene.
This week, we also were introduced to a Field Trainee right out of FLTETC that is at Hot Springs to do his Phase 1 of field training. Ranger Tim Cole is from Yellowstone who will be with us for Phase 1 of field training as I mentioned, which is a total of 3 weeks. After our K9 training day, the next day’s shift started out helping in scenarios for Ranger Cole to practice his Standard Field Sobriety Test Skills (SFST). Ranger Summerlin is his field training officer while at Hot Springs, as Ranger Summerlin teaches and is very proficient at administering SFSTs while on patrol if the situation calls for it. While being the test subject for many scenarios, it also gave me the chance to learn along with Ranger Cole on how best to administer the various tests, and what to look out for. Such as all the steps you need to go through and confirm with the subject during all phases of the tests so that they can withstand in court. If you do not do all the correct steps and make sure that your subject understands what you instructed, the tests will be thrown out as evidence that the subject may operating under the influence. Ranger Summerlin also went over the different ways to stand while administering these tests so that your safety and the safety of others around is protected. He explained that having certain stances will prevent an unsafe condition for the officer if the subject decided to get violent or try to run. The stances taught will put a ranger in the best position possible to be able to respond if such an incident occurs on a traffic stop where a suspected DUI is thought to occur. The next shift we were able to witness this firsthand (minus the violent offender).

To start off the next shift, Ranger Schreck and I began by patrolling the park, checking different areas to make sure all was well. After doing our patrol of the park then running some radar for potential speed violators, we got a call about a one car accident on one of our roads, with unknown injuries. Ranger Schreck and myself, as well as Ranger Summerlin and Cole responded to the accident. Upon arriving at the location, we had to locate it as it is a dark area of road. We found the crash and began the investigation into what happened and how it occurred. It was a one vehicle accident with the vehicle severing a light pole in half and landing on the car. The two occupants of the car were uninjured and out of their vehicle upon our arrival at the scene. After the investigation, citations were written, the power company having to come out to take the pole down, then having the vehicle towed.  After the accident scene concluded, we had to go close the mountains as it was a little pass closing time due to the incident we were on. We shut down both mountains without incident, and upon finishing went back out on patrol running radar and looking for potential violators of crime. Right before the end of our shift after conducting a few stops, with the help of Ranger Summerlin and Cole caught a car that was speeding that resulted in a DUI arrest for Ranger Schreck and I. This allowed for Ranger Cole and myself to see the SFSTs conducted on a traffic stop and how effective it was. I was also fortunate to get to experience the full arrest as I went to the county jail again, but this time the processing was different because it was a DUI and other tests needed to be administered at the jail. Even though it was a late night, it was a great learning experience for myself to be able to see the whole process of a DUI arrest.

To finish out the workweek, again Ranger Schreck and I patrolled the park at the beginning of shift to make sure everything was running well in the park. Upon finishing the first patrol, we returned to the office to get some paperwork done before we headed back out again. A little later after we began our paperwork, we got a call from EMROCC (our dispatch center) about a disturbance at the campground that the hosts called in. Since Ranger Schreck and I were the only ones on shift we headed down to investigate. When we got to the campground we spotted the subjects in question and contacted the campground hosts to see what was going on. It appeared a man and women on a motorcycle were staying past the time they were supposed to, and the man made contact with the campground host and said some odd things, appeared to be hostile and possibly a bit mental. After getting this information, Ranger Schreck decided that we would stake them out for a but hoping for them to pick up and leave. From his previous experience’s, Ranger Schreck realized that this man probably wants an altercation and for it to get physical, so instead of giving him what he wanted his best judgement was for us to sit and watch, which was the correct move as the bike and his female companion wound up leaving a short time later. Later that night we closed both mountains as normal, with two verbal warnings for staying past closing time, and multiple verbal warnings to a woman who decided to drive her car around the one side of the gate that we shut that said closed. Before ending our patrol, we helped the city look for three robbery suspects that appeared to be heading toward the park and possibly onto our property. We searched the parts of the park that the suspected criminals would most likely go to, and our searches came up negative. After a very busy week and night it was time for Ranger Schreck and myself to head home for our two days off.

During this week a lot was learned, and I am thankful for the opportunities that presented themselves this week. Hope everyone is continuing to stay cool this summer and enjoy vacations! I have two more weeks left, and will be making the most of it, so stay tuned for what comes my way in the next two weeks!

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