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Michigan State Employees Association (MSEA) President Ken Moore filed a complaint with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) on Friday, June 29, 2018 on behalf of State Park Officers.
During past summer seasons, SPOs have been called on to keep the peace during fights and riots in state parks which have resulted in arrests and injuries. Incidents have included gang-related activity, drug and alcohol abuse, disorderly conduct, and a 100-person brawl.
"These are just a few of the problems that State Park Officers have had to deal with, and the incidents are increasing in frequency and becoming ever more dangerous," said President Moore. "Our State Park Officers are serving and protecting Michigan's citizens with insufficient training, improper tools, lack of equipment and inadequate backup. What is it going to take for our officials to do something about this escalating situation?"
State Park Officers are commissioned Officers with powers and privileges bestowed upon them as a peace officer, but they are not issued a sidearm, taser, soft body armor, or proper communications equipment. Yet they are expected to do the job of a typical city Police Officer.
"These safety issues not only affect our membership, but also the patrons of the parks," said President Moore. "All patrons of Michigan parks should be assured of their safety as they enjoy the beauty of our great state. Furthermore, we are not going to just stand by and let our State Park Officers be threatened, abused and put in dire peril. MSEA represents 320 State Park Officers and we have filed a MIOSHA Complaint on their behalf."
What kind of jacked up crap is that? How do you enforce the law without the tools of the trade? That would be like telling an interior firefighter to attack a fire without hoseline. The higher-ups have a bad case of the stupids. Damn that makes me mad.
I know right?! I had no idea MI park officers were left so defenseless. I asked Troy to keep us posted as things progress up there and I'll share here.
I'm glad you're staying on top of this. I'd like to know how it turns out.
Thanks Carole. Nice to "see" ya and hope all is well with you
Per below it sounds like officers do have some protective tools depending on their job, but we'll continue to monitor this and share updates ~ esp. regarding complaint filed with state OSHA.
According to 8-Jul-2018 Detroit Free Press article ~ Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ed Golder says DNR is happy to evaluate the union’s concerns. “The safety of our employees and the public is of paramount importance, and we constantly evaluating that,” he said.
Golder contested the union’s allegations that the number of incidents at state parks is escalating or that parks are unsafe.
Michigan has 320 state park officers who are equipped with pepper spray, batons and handcuffs. The state has about 220 conservation officers, who are allowed to carry guns, Golder said. Park officers only receive 7 weeks of training while conservation officers undergo 22 weeks of training from the Michigan State Police, he said.
Park officers and conservation officers monitor the state’s 103 state parks, 134 state forest campgrounds and 12,000-mile trail system. The park system gets about 27 million visitors annually. State police also regularly patrol some state parks, including Belle Isle, where they have an established daily presence. ..."