Los Angeles councilmembers move to arm park rangers

“We cannot wait until we bury a ranger to take action,” said councilmember Joe Buscaino

By Suzie Ziegler 

LOS ANGELES — Two Los Angeles councilmembers are pushing to arm the city’s 30 park rangers to respond to violent crimes perpetrated in the parks. 

In the last four years there have been 38 homicides, 167 shootings, 267 rapes and 1,844 assaults across 450 Los Angeles parks, councilmember Joe Busciano told CBS Los Angeles. Busciano and fellow councilmember John Lee want to change the city’s Municipal Code to allow rangers to carry firearms. 

“When there’s a violent suspect at a park, rangers need to pull out and call (the Los Angeles Police Department) to respond,” Buscaino said. “We cannot wait until we bury a ranger to take action.” 

According to CBS Los Angeles, park rangers are sworn peace officers and receive basic police training after they’re hired. Rangers have the authority to make arrests but not to carry firearms under the current city code. 

“Los Angeles park rangers receive the same level of police academy training as LAPD, but do not have the same protective tools as other park ranger agencies throughout the United States that patrol large citywide and rural park areas similar to the city,” Lee told CBS Los Angeles. “Our park rangers all have four-year college degrees.” 

Buscaino introduced a motion to “begin a process that will lead to granting park rangers the authority that comes with being a full-time law enforcement professional,” his office announced in a statement obtained by CBS Los Angeles. 

The motion is supported by LAPD Chief Michel Moore, the Park Law Enforcement Association, Chief Park Ranger Joe Losorelli, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, and various homeowners’ associations, his office said.

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