Lee Wilcox dreamed of being a Park Ranger with Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy on May 27, 2011.
Cameron Lipscomb started even younger. As first a Crew Member and then a Supervisor in our Shenandoah River State Park. He also graduated on May 27.
Pictured from left to right: Cameron Lipscomb, Park Ranger Shenandoah River State Park:
Sean Dixon, Chief Ranger Kiptopeke State Park; Adam Snapp, Park Ranger
Westmoreland State Park; Jeff Smith,ParkRanger Wilderness Road State Park;
Lee Wilcox, Chief Ranger Smith Mountain Lake StatePark.
Not pictured is Jon Steele, Park Ranger, Sky Meadows State Park.
Our other graduates were no less committed to their goal to join our staff: Sean Dixon, Chief Ranger Sky Meadows State Park.
Chief Ranger Lee Wilcox is sworn in by the Honorable Charles N. Dorsey
These young men had the goal of beingRangers, which includes protecting our visitors, employees and theincredible resources that make up our state park system. Our commitment to visitor protection means that in addition to all their other duties keeping our parks running, they also have the serious responsibility of keeping the peace. The training commitment is significant. Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy is the same program that full time, "all they do is law enforcement," officers attend. The program is 20 weeks long.
Trainees learn the proper vehicle stop procedure at the Academy.
Photo courtesy Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy.
This is not the end of the training. The new graduates will complete a minimum of 100 hours of field training with a veteran officer. Thefield training program allows the new officer to apply lessons learned during the basic law enforcement training to practical, on-the-job situations while evaluating their knowledge, skills and ability to perform the duties associated with the law enforcement function of the department.
Throughout their career there will be on line refreshers and in-service training so our staff will be familiar with new and changing laws and enforcement techniques. State Parks Law Enforcement Manager David Summers commented: "I'd like to congratulate these new officers on their graduation from the Basic Law Enforcement School. The training is demanding both physically and mentally. Every one of them has demonstrated they have the courage, determination and dedication necessary to be a successful Ranger. I am confident they will continue the tradition of excellence that has been the standard in State Parks for 75 years."
In 2010 Conservation Officers with the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, DCR joined several universities and the Capitol Police as one of only five state agencies with this certification. With 37 offices across the commonwealth DCR is the first Virginia agency with statewide coverage to be recognized by the commission. Virginia State Police are accredited by a national organization.
The home parks for these staff are excited to get these staff back in the park. Most of our parks have only a handful of full time staff supplemented by seasonal and year round part time workers so losing a key person for five months is a sacrifice. These officers pick up more than just law enforcement procedures in the training though. They learn self-discipline, critical thinking, and problem solving skills that are important for all managers. Two new trainees from Virginia State Parks will enter the Academy in July.
Please click here for more information about Careers and Career Planning in Virginia State Parks.