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 Park law enforcement program garners national spotlight 



Nov. 30, 2007
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Park law enforcement program garners national spotlight


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's innovative seasonal law enforcement training program is receiving national exposure through a profile in the Association of National Park Rangers journal. The program is unique because it integrates law enforcement into SRU's bachelor's of science in park and resource management program.

            "Students pick the emphasis area to broaden their employment credentials," said John Lisco, SRU professor of parks and recreation. "Most institutions don't have a seasonal law enforcement training specialization, so graduates have to attend an academy. Our program grabs students when they're freshmen and gives them involvement in the specialty of their choice for four years. Students also do summer seasonal work in parks." 

            Randy Pitstick, SRU professor of parks and recreation, and Lisco wrote the article for the fall 2007 issue. The quarterly journal cover issues of interest to park service employees, including seasonal opportunities.

            Future rangers will fill many roles, and SRU's integrated academic approach will meet the expanding needs of national and state park systems, Lisco and Pitstick said. Emerging areas of opportunity include law enforcement, emergency medicine, search and rescue, visitor service management and conflict resolution.

            "Our public lands are a national treasure and key elements of our national heritage. SRU's program is uniquely situated to provide the comprehensive range of knowledge, skills and abilities needed to meet the needs of future resource professionals, the resources and the public who use them," Lisco and Pitstick said.

            SRU's program includes 33 hours of courses in the park and resource management track and 12 to 15 specialty program hours. SRU offers four specializations: open space planning, environmental education, outdoor leadership and park law enforcement. SRU also offers specialty courses in fire suppression, search and rescue, emergency medicine and law enforcement.

            Another benefit of SRU's program, the professors said, is faculty members have experience in state or federal parks. Lisco spent 12 years with the National Park Service. Pitstick worked several summers for the U.S. Forest Service. 

            The article includes sidebar profiles of 2006 SRU graduate Les Kwiatkowski, a ranger at Yosemite, and 2003 graduate Anne Leone, a ranger at Death Valley. More than 200 graduates work at parks nationwide, including the Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Acadia National Park, among others.

            "Students are coming to school here, and they're going to work in California, Alaska and parks all over the country," Lisco said. Many other students start their careers with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Delaware Bureau of State Parks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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