DNR board will vote on reorganization of park rangers, game wardens

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The state Board of Natural Resources is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a proposal to split off the law enforcement officers who now work for the Department of Natural Resources from the rangers who are employed in the state parks.

Although the proposal has generated several thousand public comments both pro and con, along with some controversy in the media, the DNR board is expected to approve the reorganization plan at its meeting in Statesboro.

As proposed by DNR’s Deputy Commissioner Homer Bryson, the plan would result in park rangers, who now have some law enforcement duties, losing that enforcement authority. Park rangers would be allowed, over a five-year period, to choose whether they want to keep working as rangers or switch to a job in a new law enforcement division.

The loss of enforcement authority would affect an estimated 86 park rangers now working for DNR.

Among those who have criticized the proposal is Todd Holbrook, head of the Georgia Wildlife Federation who formerly was a deputy commissioner at DNR.

“In the field and along streams, this reorganization means that Georgia’s hunters and anglers will be left holding the bag for law enforcement on state parks,” Holbrook said.

“If this plan is implemented as is, hunters and anglers will either have a reduction of enforcement services or their money will be used to fill the park enforcement gap,” Holbrook said.

© 2013 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Board of Natural Resources , DNR , Homer Bryson , law enforcement , park rangers , Todd Holbrook