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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Plan Ahead

Yesterday, while patrolling the Park ('Patrolling' seems to be a bad word. 'Civilian Rangers don't patrol; they 'make a circuit.' Hogwash. I patrol.) I observed a pickup truck parked near one of the bathhouses. I knew the truck - the operator is an elderly man who comes to the Park every day and looks out over the water.

The problem was, the truck was not in the same place it usually parks. When I looked it over on my way to the marina, I couldn't see the operator, although the truck was running.

I turned around and stopped behind it, and then approached the truck from the left front, from where I could see the driver, slumped over the wheel. I approached from that angle for several reasons. Number one, I wanted to see if it was occupied. I wanted to see the position the driver was in (upright, lying across the seat, etc.). And I didn't want to scare him to death. [At night, I might well have approached another vehicle the same way, counting on my headlights in the driver's mirror to keep him from seeing me approach.]

I stopped a moment at the driver's door and confirmed that he was breathing, and at the same time, I ran through my mind various courses of action I might take if he wasn't. I do this a lot - I consider it a continuous course of training. One has the tendency to revert to training in the event of an emergency situation, and I am big on presenting situations to myself during routine events in an effort to keep myself sharp in the event it wasn't routine after all.

By the same token, I also review my actions after many routine situations: 'What if this or that had happened? What would I do then?'

As it turned out, the driver was asleep. I tapped on the window, waved at him when he stirred, and left. But I would have been ready if he wasn't.


  1. Better safe than sorry! I'll bet he also appreciates that 'his' ranger checked in on him.

  2. I hope so. I would have felt bad if something had been wrong and I didn't check.