By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Stanton’s parks may soon be getting a new feature: park rangers.
Although the final details have not been discussed or defined, the city council gave the green light to city staff at Tuesday’s council meeting after the concept was presented as a part time position to be managed by Parks and Recreation.
The proposal is to use a vehicle already owned by the city and utilize two part time employees to combat nuisances, graffiti, permit use and uphold park use code enforcement.
Currently, there are six parks in Stanton, most of which have been closed as a result of budget cuts. However, the parks that are open are subject to codes involving permit use for structures and hours of operation.
Julie Roman, assistant to the city manager, said that more than a few cities in Orange County have their own park ranger programs.
“We are not alone in this and this is not unique to our city,” said Roman.
City Manager Jim Box said that Anaheim has a very successful model for its local park ranger program.
The position would consist of two part-time rangers that would work 19 hours a week. The cost overall to the city’s general fund would be $29, 825 for the first year.
The program would be reviewed in the first 6 months to a year to see what kind of an impact it would have on nuisance and graffiti reports.
Council member Brian Donahue was initially dubious of the program, citing that the parks have been closed and spending money on rangers seemed improbable. Donahue wants to be sure that Park Rangers can get a review in shortened amount of time to ensure the city doesn’t spend money unnecessarily.
Council Member Rigoberto Ramirez is also concerned that rangers may not be effective in handling complaints without having to call police services.
“There is a quite a bit of activity at the parks at night. Your question is whether or not they would respect their [park rangers] authority. Well, sometimes they don’t even respect our authority,” said Lt. Jeff Passalaqua, Stanton’s chief of police services, through the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
“I feel that it would help take care of the nuisance calls and help free us up. As long as we address their [park ranger] safety issues and limit liability for the city . . . I think it would be a great idea to get them in our administrative sites,” said Passalaqua.
The council approved the program unanimously and city staff will report back with finalized details before the new position is accepted.