|"This is a proactive effort by Chief Rausch and his staff," said Mayor Rogero. "This patrol unit ensures that with our 85-mile trail system and over 2,000 acres of park space, we have the ability to respond to emergencies even on remote trails."
The Parks and Greenways Patrol Unit duties vary by site, but include enforcing park and greenway rules as well as City ordinances, assisting injured park users, responding to neighbor's complaints, reporting safety issues for needed repairs, helping greenway users with information, and even removing graffiti with recycled paint.
"Having safe and enjoyable parks and greenways are essential to our citizens," Chief Rausch said. "The Parks and Greenways Patrol Unit will enhance the patrols that are already in place throughout the city. These efforts will no doubt have a positive impact in our community."
This past Monday, June 3, marked the one-year anniversary of the unit. During the past year, the officers have conducted more than 4,400 patrols of City parks and greenways.
"The parks and greenways community has already benefited greatly from Sgt. Shaffer and his unit's presence," said Joe Walsh, Director of Parks and Recreation. "We're excited to have them out among our parks, reinforcing the sense of safety, and ultimately improving every aspect of our facilities."
In one notable instance, an officer rescued a bicyclist who had fallen from his bike downhill and was stranded without a cell phone. The officer noticed the abandoned bike and was inspecting when he heard the bicyclist's cry for help.
The Parks and Greenways Patrol Unit has resolved several issues with ATV use on park property, which has been an ongoing issue over the years. Motorized vehicles are not permitted at City parks and greenways.
This winter, one of the unit's officers received a Lifesaving Award when he was able to prevent a reported suicide attempt because of his familiarity with the park and mobility on bicycle beyond where the officers in a patrol car could reach.
Overall, Sgt. Shaffer says their daily routines are about getting to know the park and greenway user community and serving their needs. "Our focus is high visibility to deter any issues before they occur," said Sgt. Shaffer.