Principal Investigator:
Dr. Larry Gould, Associate Dean,
College of Social &
Behavioral Sciences, Departme
nt of Criminal Justice, NAU
Co-Principal Investigators:
Stephen R. Dodd
Director, Park Ranger Training Program,
Department of Geography,
Planning, and Recreation, NAU
Ken Johnson, Special Agent for the National Park Service
Research Assistant:
Dawn Hubbs,
Northern Arizona Universi
ty, College of Social
and Behavioral Sciences and Ca
brillo College, Human Arts and
Social Sciences
NPS Staff: Federal Law En
forcement Training Center
Dick Powell, NPS Safety and Occupational Health Manager
Introduction to the Study
Statement of the Problem:
Current raw data suggests that Law Enforcement Rangers
in the employ of the
National Park Service (NPS) have
the highest rate of victimiza
tion for assault of all Federal
Law Enforcement Agents. The unrefined data sugge
st an assault rate that
varies by year from
a low of 34.45 to a high of 45.81 assaults
per 1,000 full-time NPS Law Enforcement
Personnel (Rangers and U.S. Park Police are comb
ined to arrive at these figures. During the
same period all other Federal agencies charged
with some form of law enforcement reported
assault rates per one-thousand that are much lowe
r. The average for a combination of other
Federal Agencies ranges from a low of about
3.5 to a high of 9.5 per one-thousand employees.
The primary focus of this study, noted in more de
tail later, is to verify these figures for
accuracy and to determine, if possi
ble, the nature of the assaults.
The International Association of Chiefs
of Police, in their study of NPS’ law
enforcement program, concluded that NPS rangers
suffer the highest rate
of assaults of any
Federal law enforcement agency.
(Policing the National Parks: 21st Century Requirements.
Referred to in this report as NPS Rangers or Rangers.
page 4)
Between 1998 and 2002 three rangers have
been murdered by gunfire and several
others have been engaged
in deadly encounters.
While a number of common-sense actions to
strengthen equipment and training have
been taken, to this point no careful epidemiol
ogical study has been conducted to determine the
accuracy or reasons for this disturbing condi
tion. The purpose of this study has been to
conduct the first step in addressing the hi
gh number of assaults;
the verification and
quantification of the problem.
This IACP finding, if true, certainly contradi
cts the general public
image of the setting
in which NPS Rangers work. This problem, le
ft uninvestigated and/or unresolved, may also
diminish NPS’ mission. Additionally, if left unr
esolved, this problem could cost the NPS in
terms of lost work days, high medical cost
s and continued injury to NPS personnel

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