Nine new state park rangers received commissions as law enforcement officers today at a special ceremony at William B. Umstead State Park.
Before the administration of the oath, Superior Court Judge A. Graham Shirley II told the rangers that rather than being given power, they have been given responsibilities with powers to carry out responsibly. He added, “When dealing with people, always treat them with respect and professionalism. You are the person wearing the uniform and you are the one everyone is watching.”
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.
Mike Murphy, state parks director, said the rangers are beginning their careers during the parks system’s 2016 Centennial, a very “auspicious” time. “That means the work you do in the times ahead will last for generations. People celebrating the 200th anniversary of state parks will appreciate the work you do, just as we appreciate the work done by the people who created our parks system 100 years ago.”
Susan Kluttz, Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, noted the diverse training that rangers must undergo, including law enforcement, medical first response, environmental education, natural resource management and search and rescue. “North Carolina park rangers are among state government’s primary deliverers of public service,” she said. “You are visible, helpful, available and in constant contact with our citizens. You are to be commended for choosing park ranger as your vocation.”
The rangers who received commissions are: William Thomas Drakeford, Mount Mitchell State Park; Jacob Richardson Fields, Carvers Creek State Park; Kassie Amber Moore, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area; Joshua Per Oksnevad, Crowders Mountain State Park; Jason Scott Penshorn, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area; Carla Ann Porterfield, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area; William Keegan Ruark, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area; Celia Emmaline Trivette, Pilot Mountain State Park; and, Michael Steven Wood Jr., Stone Mountain State Park. (Michael Paul Romano Jr., Haw River State Park) was to have been commissioned but could not attend the ceremony. He will be sworn at a separate ceremony.)