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Rangers return to Elysian Park after a decade-long absence

Elysian Park

Elysian Park scene

Elysian Park has been assigned a pair of park rangers — the first time rangers have been dedicated to the park since the jobs were lost a decade ago during the budget cuts of the great recession.

The two new rangers  — Andrei Deocampo and Joseph Fuentes — will be working primarily as ambassadors for the city’s second largest park, according to Joe Salaices, Superintendent of Recreation and Parks Operations.

“This can be in the form of attending community meetings, greeting and talking to park patrons, handing out park information and eventually giving discussions on Park flora and fauna, giving weekly nature hikes for all to enjoy,” Salaices said.

The rangers will also have more conventional policing duties, such as patrolling for illegal activity, enforcing minor quality-of-life regulations such as dogs off the leash, smoking, open flames, alcohol violations and illegal parking.

“Rangers are also trained to be first responders during fire and often will work side by side with LAFD on fire related issues,” Salaices said.

The arrival of the new rangers has been welcomed by the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park, a park advocacy group. The new rangers attended the group’s meeting in October shortly after starting their new duties, said  committee president Philip Murphy.

“We believe the Rangers will be instrumental in helping the public reclaim sections of the park that have been neglected and abandoned,” said Murphy in an email. “They have a civilizing effect overall by helping mitigate issues with homeless encampments, brush fires, vandalism, littering, and other behaviors that make the park less safe and inviting to the public.”

Hiring new rangers was one of the top requests when the city’s parks department held a public meeting to discuss what possible improvements might be made to Elysian Park.

Salaices added that the City Council has been replenishing his department’s budget within the last three budget cycles to hire the rangers.

“Hiring a ranger is an 18-month process,” he said, “as they spend three months in backgrounds, six months in the LAPD or Sheriff’s Academy and another six months on probationary period.”

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9 comments

  1. Welcome, Andres and Joseph! Happy to have your services in our wonderful park.

  2. “Reclaim sections of the park? Isn’t that a bit of hyperbole? I’m very familiar with the park, there is no section of it lost to the public.

  3. Great news! Welcome, power rangers!

  4. Um, ya there is , there are PLENTY of places unknown to the “newbies” that have’ not been ruined by “where to walk your dog in l.a” articles . We are not “familiar” with the park , we know every corner and field and trail and water towers, like we did when we were kids.
    Its a shame Elysian Park has been over hash tagged, and over run by tourists and hundreds of people and cars on the weekend and turning everything into a “destination” . We always would say ” thank god theres Runyon Canyon for the tourists and faux celebs ” , Elysian Park used to be a peaceful place to escape , its now an over populated place to meet the friendly neighborhood gentrifier .

    • Elysian Park, like echo park lake, used to just be a place where gangs deposited dead bodies and no one went outside ever. The current iteration is a VAST improvement – get over yourself

    • A lot more dog walkers along the main paths. families cooking out, car shows, people checking out the views. A couple of hawks circling around some dead trees. A jogger or two. men kicking a ball around. Couple of kids smoking in a car. Dodger fans in. Dodger fans out. A half inflated jumpy. Coyote eating leftover burnt chicken. Lone cruiser dude. Broken glass. Eucalyptus tree. Green down low brown up high. Metal detectors looking for lost rings and change. traffic jam. Gun shots from the police academy. Girls sunbathing. Giant empty reservoir.

  5. “The rangers will also have more conventional policing duties, such as patrolling for illegal activity, enforcing minor quality-of-life regulations such as dogs off the leash…”

    Thank God… I’ve been chased by dogs multiple times while running here over the years. Once I got bit and the dog’s owner had the nerve to blame me for running and not being sensitive to the dog’s lack of training. Talk about “entitled”, heh.

    • Yeah! Rude, irresposible off-leash dog owners! I’ve had this happen three times in the last month for having the temerity of minding my own business in their proximity. How do we get a hold of these Rangers?

  6. “dogs off the leash, smoking, open flames, alcohol violations and illegal parking”

    Did we forget vice and prostitution? Pretty sure thats a big visible one.

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