California State Parks Peace Officer

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California State Park Peace Officer
CA State Park Ranger patch.svg
Patch of the California State Park Peace Officer
CA - State Park Ranger badge.svg
Logo of the California State Park Peace Officer
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of California, USA
Map of USA CA.svg
Map of California State Park Peace Officer's jurisdiction.
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Sacramento, California
California Park Ranger page
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

California State Park Peace Officers (S.P.P.O) are fully sworn California State Police Officers, with two sub-classifications, the Ranger and the Lifeguard. S.P.P.O.s often use the title of State Police Officer during enforcement contact, as many Park Rangers and Lifeguards within municipalities, counties and special districts are not armed Peace Officers, with authority throughout the state, on and off duty, like the California State Park Peace Officers law enforcement officer. State Park Peace Officers perform a wide variety of general law-enforcement activities, including complex criminal investigations, traffic enforcement, and participate in statewide task forces, for gang suspension, narcotics enforcement, auto theft, and fish and wildlife crimes, under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Parks and Recreation in the state parks of California, United States. Duties include general law enforcement, aquatic rescue (by lifeguards and other certified officers), search and rescue, emergency medical response, interpretation of natural, historic and cultural resources, resource protection, park management and proactive enforcement patrol. The current sidearm of the California State Park Peace Officer is the Smith & Wesson M&P, the current patrol rifle is the Colt AR-15 Model LE6920, and the current patrol shotgun is the venerable, Remington Model 870 Police Magnum.[citation needed]


Public safety
  • Law-enforcement services
  • Lifeguard services
  • Medical aid/emergency medical response
  • Operating and maintaining emergency equipment
Visitor assistance
  • Advising visitors of rules and regulations
  • Providing general park information
Public education and interpretation
  • Community outreach
  • Interpretive programs
  • Junior Ranger and Lifeguard Program
Park Resource Protection and Management

Rank Structure[edit]

The California State Parks Peace Officers are broken up into two types of Law Enforcement officers. The Ranger and the Lifeguard.


Rank Insignia
Superintendent V
Superintendent IV
Superintendent III
Superintendent II
Superintendent I
Second Lieutenant insignia.png
Ranger Supervisor.png


Supervisor III
Supervisor II
Supervisor I

Both Lifeguards and Rangers work in conjunction to enforce all state law and park regulation in the 280 parks under the jurisdiction of the state of CA.


All State Parks Peace Officers must complete a Peace Officer Standards and Training academy before being sworn in as a Ranger or a Lifeguard. The CA Department of Parks and Recreation hosts a P.O.S.T. academy specifically for S.P.P.O.s at the Butte College. [1] The Ranger academy currently takes anywhere from 6 to 8 months to complete depending on the class. Each class typically consists of 40 cadets, both lifeguard and ranger.

Difference in Training at the Academy[edit]

Since the Rangers and lifeguards serve different purposes their training differs slightly. Lifeguards receive all training Rangers do, and are required to train in and complete swimming and nautical courses.

Training After the Academy[edit]

S.P.P.O.s continue training regularly upon graduation from the academy and are encouraged to further their knowledge and skill base to best serve the parks and people of CA. Some of the training includes EMT training, K-9 Handler training, Counter-terrorism Training, Firearms Training, etc.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]