Five new state park rangers received commissions as law enforcement officers today, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. The rangers were sworn in by Superior Court Judge Michael R. Morgan at a special ceremony in Raleigh.
Receiving a commission as a Special Peace Officer at the end of 17-week basic law enforcement training is generally regarded as the last formal step before a ranger takes on full duties in a unit of the state parks system. During the training period prior to commissioning, a ranger is assimilated into the park and begins assuming duties in resource management and visitor service.
“It requires a lot of dedication and training for our candidates to earn the right to wear the campaign-style hat of a state park ranger,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director. “These men and women are true multi-specialists who are frequently asked to assume many roles during a day at work from finding a lost hiker to giving an interpretive program to dealing with violations of state law”
State park rangers are required to have at least a two-year degree, and many come to the job with four-year university degrees in curricula related to resource and/or park management. Beyond law enforcement training, all are trained in medical first response, search-and-rescue, wildfire suppression, natural resource management, interpretive skills and environmental education.
The rangers who received commissions are: Emily Brooke Abernathy at Falls Lake State Recreation Area; Erin Elizabeth Bradford at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area; James Bradford Cameron at Lake James State Park; Andrew Morgan Edwards at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area; and, Vincent David Morgan at Mount Mitchell State Park.