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Politics & Government

Uniformed Rangers Join County And City Park Patrol

Trained rangers will begin patrolling Allegheny County and Pittsburgh city parks next week offering protection, giving directions, helping with emergencies and identifying plants, trees and mushrooms to park patrons.

Rangers in uniforms of khaki shirts and green pants will maintain a presence in all nine county parks and Schenley Park through November. And although they’ll be unarmed and non-sworn officers, they’ll be responsible for reinforcing park rules.

Mayor Bill Peduto said the program will give people a sense of security – and a sense of wonderment.

“Of understanding what that tree is – how and why this type of bird has chosen to live here – what the different opportunities are within this park and being able to fully understand why it was that they created this magnificent parks to begin with,” he said.

County police officers currently patrol the county parks. Allegheny County Manager William McKain said their presence in parks will diminish after the rangers begin.

“The highly trained police officers that we have, we believe, can make a better impact county-wide with their expertise and their investigations and things like that," McKain said. "They’re still going to have a presence. They’ll be working with the eyes and ears. which will be our ambassadors to the park ... the rangers.”

In 2016, the program will expand to Frick, Riverview and Highland Parks. Specific schedules are still getting ironed out, officials said.

Money for the program came from budgeted line items with the city and county, as well as foundational support and grants.