Nation

Park rangers face increase in assaults

WASHINGTON — Park rangers, wildlife refuge workers, and US Park Police experienced more assaults and threats from visitors last year than in 2011, according to a group that represents federal resource workers.

A total of 591 incidents were reported by six land and water agencies in 2012, up 38 percent from the previous year, the group says. More than one-quarter of the incidents involved some sort of violence against the employee or officer, according to the report by the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

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More than half of 100 reported incidents against US Park Police involved violence, the report said, including an incident where a suspected drunk driver tried to run over a police officer.

The report, to be released Monday, is based on figures obtained from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and other agencies.

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The report says 2012 began violently, with the New Year’s Day shooting death of a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, the first ranger killed on duty in a decade.

That same month, a note was a left at a Texas wildlife refuge visitor center that included racist remarks and a threat to burn down the center. In September, someone took a shot at a land management worker driving an agency vehicle at an Arizona recreation area. Other incidents include assaults on law enforcement officers, resisting arrest, and threats of violence.

Associated Press

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