Seattle to place full-time park rangers at two troublesome parks
As warm weather approaches, Seattle is preparing for a spike in crime, particularly at two urban parks that have been sites of recent violence. The city will hire two full-time park rangers to patrol Occidental Park in Pioneer Square and Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill.
Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel says the rangers are uniformed but unarmed, and work closely with the Seattle Police Department.
“The rangers are what police officers and firefighters call a force multiplier. They can be boots on the ground, in the park. They get to know the people who are regular park users and those who live around, regardless of what they’re doing in the park, and they can build those relationships,” Pugel said.
Rangers are trained to help homeless people find services, and can settle small disputes that can lead to more violent interactions. The new rangers will take to the parks by summer. In the meantime, police have stepped up their presence in these parks and surrounding neighborhoods. Funding for the rangers comes from unspent money in the parks’ budget.