GLENDALE — Frustrated by the lack of funds for park security, Russ Hauck set out two years ago to change state law to make it possible to increase the number of rangers without increasing the cost.
On June 30, Gov. Pete Wilson signed into law a bill that gives reserve park rangers the authority to serve as peace officers in the same way full-time park rangers do.
The bill took effect immediately, and now Glendale is looking to add 10 volunteer reserves to its current staff.
"This legislation will give us the opportunity to use volunteers to help patrol our parks and open space," said Hauck, a park ranger supervisor who helped draft the legislation. "Prior to this law, only police and sheriff's departments, and a handful of specialized law enforcement agencies, were authorized to use reserve peace officers."
Hauck said the new law, which was supported by both the California Parks and Recreation Society and the Park Rangers Assn. of California, will be a big help to parks districts and law enforcement agencies throughout the state.