Eight park rangers across the state of North Carolina were recently commissioned as law enforcement officers after participating in a law enforcement basic training program that lasted 17 weeks. The rangers received their commissions at a public ceremony and were given the distinction of being “Special Peace Officers”. The completion of the training program and the commission as law enforcement officers is a final step for park rangers in North Carolina in joining that sector of the state park system. During the training program, the rangers take on various park duties such as visitor service and resource management. According to the North Carolina State Parks Director, the training program requires a tremendous amount of “training and dedication” in order for trainees to earn the right to assume law enforcement duties.
With the law enforcement commission, the rangers are considered specialists who will be required to take on a number of different roles for the state park service both in an assistance as well as a law enforcement capacity. According to the press release announcing the law enforcement commission, park rangers in the state of North Carolina are required to have a minimum of a two-year degree from an accredited college, university, or trade school. Most rangers, however, typically have a four-year degree when they apply for the job. Most of the degrees are in university programs related to park management or natural resources.
In addition to training in law enforcement duties, the rangers also were trained in skills such as natural resource management, search-and-rescue, interpretive skills, medical first response, environmental education, and wildfire suppression. All of the rangers who were commissioned were presented with North Carolina state law enforcement badges and IDs. They were also given new state park ranger hats as the final symbol of their promotion to the new position.