From: Beth Brooker [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 8:40 AM
†Subject: FW: Park Watch Responses
I tried to send this out to the trails and greenways listserve but it said the file is too big to accept. So I am sending this to you individually. Thanks for responding to my request. I got some great information for the various listservs.
From: Beth Brooker [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 4:54 PM
To: NRPAnet; NC P&R; Trails and Greenways
Subject: Park Watch Responses
I cannot thank enough those who responded to this inquiry. I got a lot of good information and attachments of manuals and reports. Attached are the responses.
Maybe NRPA can put together standards for a Park Watch program?? Thanks again for all of the help!
Fletcher Parks & Recreation
PO Drawer 369
Fletcher, NC 28732
Learn more about our growing community: <http://www.town-of-fletcher-nc.com>\
The Web site of today's Active generation ...
PARK WATCH INFORMATION
Information from NRPA, NC P&R, and Trails and Greenways Listservs
Question: I am looking for information on Park Watch programs.† Those of you who have
1. Do you use volunteers? (if no, why not)
2. What type of training do you require?
3. Do you give them a radio or cell phone?
4. What are some good points and bad points about your program?
5.† Do you have training information you could send me? (email is great, but
fax and snail mail will work too - contact info below)
Beth Brooker, CPRP
We here in far Western New York have what we call a 'Trail Patrol' on our 26 mile mostly rural trail system. It is a volunteer group of people who use the trail a fair amount. The purpose of the patrol is multiple;
The patrol members (about 12, with 4 or 5 active) are given bright red T-shirts that say 'Trail Patrol'. We have told adjacent landowners to look for the red shirts that show that we are looking after the trail.
We offer basic first aid training and recommend CPR. We aren't able to provide much in the way of equipment for the members. We suggest patrol members take first aid kits and small tool kits with them on the trail, if they have them and know how to use them. We also urge them to take their personal cell phones in case of emergency.
A local bike shop 'sponsors' the patrol and gives members discounts on bicycle items for their participation.
Of course, one of the problems is getting the members to call in or e-mail a report of their trip on the trail. We know the patrol members are using the trails, but we don't get too many reports. We keep trying.
We do not have a "Park Watch" program, however, we do have 4 Police Officers that are designated as Park Police.† They schedule themselves and take our requests to cover events at park sites and programs at Recreation Center sites.† They are supervised by the Police Department.† We have good communications by cell phone, pagers, and through our Communications Dept. dispatch office.
This works well for us.†† As for volunteers, we have a few citizens who think they are "Mayors" of their neighborhoods that do a great job of letting us know if something looks suspicious or reporting on vandalism.† We cater to these people because they are our eyes and ears for the parks and we do not want to discourage them.† These individuals are usually retired military with time on their hands and interest in their neighborhoods.†† We have 52 parks and 11 Recreation Centers to look after and we can use all the help we can get.†† If there is an organized program with training materials for a volunteer program, we would like to have more information about it.†
I'll fax you a training manual developed before the days of digital data, that we use as part of the training for our Park Patrol in Rochester, NY. We use seasonal City security staff along with criminal justice interns form local colleges. This is supplemented by volunteer PAC TAC (police and citizens together against crime) personnel. I hope this helps you. Call me at 716-428-6866 if you have further questions.
Kaullen, Mike [email@example.com]
We use a Park Watch Program, but I don't think it is what you were looking for.† Our program involves all of our park neighbors.† We stop at the homes and introduce ourselves and discuss a wide variety of topics.† Our goal is to let them know who we are, how we work and what we watch for.† Then we give them some brochures and a magnet with our phone number to put on their refrigerator.† We hope that when they have questions or see a problem they will call in.† It has been very successful.† If you have an interest in this type of program please let me know.†
I have armed park ranger that patrol and enforce county ordinances and state statutes.† We also do a lot of interpretive programs and special events.†
We don't actually have a park watch program but we have park hosts.† We have established RV pads in most of our parks (yes, in neighborhood parks) and we provide telephone hook ups--no long distance, and all utilities.† We also provide cellular phones.† Our park hosts are asked to provide minimal services--clean restrooms, lock and unlock gates, pick up litter, answer questions that our park users have and call 911 if necessary.† They are not to become the enforcers of park rules, break up fights or confront park users.
1. Do you use volunteers? (if no, why not)† No, we hire law enforcement students or part time police officers
2. What type of training do you require?† All have training through the police department
3. Do you give them a radio or cell phone?† Yes and No.† We have radios with direct link to dispatch.
4.What are some good points and bad points about your program? Hard to find qualified individuals.† However, the link and support of the Police Dept. helps.
1. Do you use volunteers? (if no, why not) No.† Staff needs to be trained and accountable.† Our program is called "SiteWatch."† Program is seasonal (10 mos./year); 5 staff work various evening and weekend shifts.
2. What type of training do you require? The type of person we look for is someone with a background or current employment in dealing with people (so far its been mostly teachers). Briefing by Police training officer re: interaction with the public. New staff receive orientation by working shifts with several different veteran staff.† We have a manual, too.
3. Do you give them a radio or cell phone? 2-way radio contact with police dept.† Also have cell phone.† Expect to go to a Nextel phone/2-way system in 2002.
4. What are some good points and bad points about your program? The program is 4 years old and is very successful.† The only drawback is that we ask 1 person per shift to cover a lot of ground and sites -- busier sites are visited 2x per shift; others 1x.† Also, we've asked people to use their own cars and reimbursed them for mileageóthat should change in 2002 with shared use of a staff car.† Program is paid for through a variety of sources:† school district, youth sports programs, permit surcharge, rec. programs.
Darlene Lynam firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a paid Park Patrol staff that work in our largest park only Monday through Friday from 6pm - 12am and Saturdays/Sundays from 9am - 12am. There are 2 staff per shift. On the weekends we have 3 shifts: 9am-2pm, 2pm-7pm and 7pm-12am. We start in May and go through the end of October. We are looking to expand the program next year to try and cover some of our satellite parks and work closer with the police department. Each shift submits a report at the end of their shift. For special events, we try and have more than 2 per shift. Itís been a great program and weíre lucky to have it.
Margaret Bass Nashville, TN 37221† 615/370-8053
We had similar problems here, and so we began a program called Park Watch. In this program, we ask volunteers to be our 'eyes and ears'. We ask people who already spend time in the Park to call and give us reports each time they are here. We have t-shirts, hats, and magnetic signs for their car to increase visibility. We also make cell phones available.† These reports then get logged in, and we have a running record of reports since 1996. We have found it to be a great thing- it has helped us determine the severity of problems in the park such as dogs off leashes, runners on horse trails, and suspicious behavior in the park. This is just a summary, but if you are interested I would be happy to send you more information in the mail!
1. Do you use volunteers?
(if no, why not)
[Bass, Margaret (Parks)] yes, all volunteers. we ask that those who use the park regularly, mostly hikers, bikers, and runners, keep their eyes and ears open while they use the parks. They then call in and give us a report (including time, and location) of what they saw (good and bad). we make cell phones, car magnets, t-shirts, and hats available to them.
2. What type of training do
[Bass, Margaret (Parks)] We schedule 4 ParkWatch orientations per year, but will also meet with individuals to go over the goals and procedures of ParkWatch.
3. Do you give them a radio
or cell phone?
[Bass, Margaret (Parks)] Cell phones are available, but to be honest they are rarely used.
4. What are some good points and bad points about your program?
[Bass, Margaret (Parks)] We have been very pleased with our ParkWatch program- has helped us with dogs off leash especially since it allows us to put some numbers with the problem. Can be hard to keep volunteers motivated to call in reports.
Frank E. Postle† email@example.com
Our police department has a citizenís police academy in which they train people and use them as volunteers to help the department.† They do a Variety of things but as of yet they donít patrol parks.† You might check with Larry Warren, 937 296 2562 who heads up that program.† Iím thinking you could do a similar type of training and us the graduates as you see fit but to include educational type patrol.
Director, Shelby Parks & Recreation Department
We worked long and hard developing a Park Watch for our Department. On paper it looked like the best thing since sliced bread. We even had a group called "North Carolina Crime Prevention" as our volunteers. They are trained and insured to assist law enforcement agencies and had been used for many years doing things such as parking cars at the fair. Attached you will find the
handbook they were given by our Department with all the rules and regulations. The "board" consisted of myself, Shelby City Police Sergeant, Parks Advisory Board Chairman and the groups Captain. We provided them with a used Police Car and radios. For about a month it went well, then came the trouble. Certain members began thinking they were real life Police Officers and were overstepping their boundaries and doing other things such as transporting their kids in the car. Long story short, we have suspended the Park Watch Program indefinitely and I doubt it will come back. If you proceed, I hope you have better luck because it could be a great benefit.
You might find some 'good stuff at: http://www.patrol.org/mtbike/index.htm
Travis Cousino <VMNTR@aol.com <mailto:VMNTR@aol.com>> is starting a Vermont Chapter of the National Mountain Bike Patrol.
Keith Trawick [Ktraw@ci.salisbury.nc.us]
The only programs that I am aware of are completely volunteer. At the Park Avenue community, we have established an "Eyes on the Park" program. With this program, you rely on the citizens which live close to the park to become your eyes for watching for any undesirable activity and educate them as to how to get full descriptions and make calls to the local Police Dept. etc. The positive side of this is that you utilize local resources, empower the neighborhood and it sort of becomes a self serving and interest endeavor. I have found that neighbors of a park, for the most part, do care about it more than anyone else, therefore putting self interest to use.
Asheboro Parks and Recreation
The Asheboro Parks and Recreation Department started a Park Watch Program last year.†† Our program does not have trained volunteers we rely on the public who see unwanted or illegal activities to just call 911 and report these activities.† We have installed signs in all our parks explaining what the park watch program is about.† The bad part of our program is that we are at the mercy of the general public.† If they do not call and report these activities the program is of no use.† That is not the case we have raised the awareness of safety in our parks and I feel the program is doing some good.†
About 1 1/2 years ago the City of Tempe Parks and Recreation started "Tempe Citizens on Park Patrol".† We now have 25 volunteers in the program.† I will send you some information.† We developed our program using a Police Dept. model ("Citizens on Block Patrol"), but added the wellness/fitness component of walking† (great P & R stuff).† See below.
1. Do you use volunteers? (if no, why not)†† Yes
2. What type of training do you require? Police Dept. background check, Police Ride-Along and a training session with Parks and Recreation and Police Dept. staff.† A big emphasis is placed on the safety of the volunteers.
3. Do you give them a radio or cell phone?† We require that they have a cell phone with them and call Police Communication before starting a walk and at the end of the walk.† If a person does not have a cell phone, the Police Dept. issues them a cell phone programmed to 911.† A minimum of two trained volunteers must go walking together.† The volunteers wear a bright orange vests that say "Citizens on Park Patrol" when walking.
4. What are some good points and bad points about your program?†† The program provides visibility in our parks which deters crime, encourages citizen involvement, promotes wellness/fitness, makes our parks safer, etc.† The volunteers also report parks maintenance issues to provide extra eyes for the parks maintenance staff.† It is best if volunteers sign up with a walking partner.† It is difficult to match individuals up.† The volunteers can walk in any City of Tempe park and can walk anytime that the park is open depending on their work or walking schedule.†
1. Do you use volunteers? (if no, why not)† We have paid personnel for park patrol.
2. What type of training do you require?†††† Currently and in the past, we utilize retired policeman†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††
3. Do you give them a radio or cell phone?† The police department provides them with an equipped squad car.
We have a volunteer cross-country ski patrol.† We provide a limited orientation.† They pick up a radio for their 2 hour shift.† They ski the park, report on the number of users, offer any assistance that they are qualified to offer, report on the condition of the lights for the cross country ski trail and have good time.† At the recent conference in Missouri the DNR talked about the volunteer program for the KATY trail.† It seemed much more extensive and organized.†