New Rangers Will Patrol City Parks
Rex Spraggins will soon patrol city parks to combat a public perception that the recreation areas are dangerous for play or relaxation.
“It’s kind of a ‘take back your parks’ situation,” said the 63-year-old minister and volunteer police chaplain. “There’s a perception that the parks are unsafe and that’s wrong.”
Police Chief Steven H. Staveley said crime in city parks is “virtually nonexistent” and doesn’t understand why the public thinks otherwise.
City officials hired Spraggins this week to take on the duties of the newly created park ranger position. Two or three more rangers also will be hired and they will report to work in about three weeks. Senior citizens will fill the posts, officials said.
The city created the park ranger program to attract more people to La Habra’s 20 parks and to find out what improvements residents would like, City Manager Jerry L. Bankston said.
Residents have already requested pay phones, more lights and basketball courts, he said.
The rangers, who will be paid minimum wage, will wear uniforms and badges and will carry radios to communicate with Police Department dispatchers should the need arise. They will be responsible for taking an inventory of park equipment and making sure bathrooms are usable.
Most important, Spraggins said, rangers will talk with park visitors to ease any concerns they might have. Someone will be on duty every day of the week, he said.
“This is going to work very, very well,” Spraggins said. “When an old gray-haired man like me is not afraid of the parks, why should anybody else be afraid?”
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La Habra’s 20 parks, totaling 117 acres, will be patrolled by rangers:
1. La Bonita
5. Vista Grande
6. Vista del Valley
8. Las Lomas
9. Loma Verde
13. El Centro
14. San Miguel de Allende
15. Old Reservoir
16. Loma Norte
18. Constitution Plaza
Source: City of La Habra