There is actually a purpose to this blog

Scott Adams - the writer of the 'Dilbert' comic strip - once described a Mission Statement as 'a long, complicated paragraph demonstrating management's inability to think clearly.' Therefore, I'll not call this a mission statement.

This blog is dedicated to informing civilian Park Rangers about topics routine taught to police officers but almost unknown to most of us who wear a uniform, work alone, and confront potentially dangerous on a frequent basis.

This blog is intended to offer suggestions based on my experience, and on my understanding of Maryland Law. It may be different where you are.

That's my mission.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's What You Know

Knowledge is power. Or maybe safety, in the case of a Park Ranger.

As you approach a vehicle parked in the Day Use area after closing, you really don't know what you are getting into. Maybe nothing. Maybe it's an escaped criminal in a stolen car with a gun, who thinks you are a police officer.

Not good.

As a civilian Ranger, you have had how much training about how to handle this situation? Can you spell 'Zero?'

Positioning your patrol vehicle can have one of two effects: On the one hand, it can provide illumination of the interior of the suspicious vehicle, a shield, and a means of escape. On the other, it can be a like a red flag waved at a bull. 

In the second illustration, you pull in quickly, stop sharply, and point your headlights into the passenger compartment at a sharp angle from a position oft one of the rear fenders. You have just spelled 'Police Officer.' Maybe you wanted to - maybe you feel that putting the people in the vehicle at a tactical disadvantage might protect you. Could be. It's your choice and you will never hear me say to ignore that sixth sense.

In the first case, however, you pull your vehicle almost parallel to the driver's side of the parked car, with the front bumper approximately even with the rear bumper on the other vehicle. You cant the headlights slightly inward, so some of your lights shine into the passenger compartment. You exit your vehicle quickly, walking around the rear of it, and around the rear of the other vehicle. In almost all cases, the occupants of that vehicle will be looking for you to walk up on the driver's side, but your headlights make it difficult to see which way you went.

As you walk well behind the other vehicle, keep a sharp lookout inside of it - how many people? What are they doing? Approach from the passenger side, standing well back from the right front door and tap on the glass or roof with your right knuckles, keeping your flashlight in your left hand. (The opposite for southpaws, if you want, although doing it as if you were right handed keeps them from seeing if you are carrying a weapon or not.)

While you are approaching the vehicle,be looking around you, in the darkness. Don't be surprised by somebody walking out of the gloom!

Next time - what their car can tell you.

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