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.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"License and Registration, please."

I can't speak for everywhere, but in my state, a driver is required to produce his driver's license, on demand of a police officer. Not, unfortunately, on demand of a civilian Park Ranger. But why would you even want to see somebody's license in the first place?

In the most innocent circumstance, it may be that it is much more expedient to read the name, address, etc. off somebody's license than have him have to repeatedly spell something over and over. "Stevastapol Mxpclycx, with two X's" On the other hand, you may want to obtain his real name and address rather than trust what he tells you.

As is the case with all the advice I tender here, do what you think best. However, while the law doesn't say a person has to comply with your demand, it doesn't say you can't ask for his or her license. Nicely. Don't say, 'Gimme your license!'" Ask, "May I see your license, please?" If you don't get it, you are no worse off than before. Even better, you might say what a friend of mine used to say, "Do you have any form of identification, preferably a driver's license?" He wasn't even asking for a license - if they tendered it, so much the better.

I require a copy of a camp host or volunteer applicant's license. I get it or they go elsewhere; I have no intention of allowing them to drive around in one of our Gators, tractors, or golfcarts without a valid license. Note - they don't have to have a license to drive one of them, at least in my state. They just can't drive one while their license is suspended or revolked. Therefore, I need to see it.

"It's not what you can do or can't do, it's how you do it."

One last thing: Make it a point of getting the full name (first, middle, and last) and date of birth of everybody you deal with officially. It might be that it is needed for something later. For instance, you jump start a disabled vehicle and a few days later, the police let you know it was stolen. You would have a lot of helpful information in your files.

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