Rangers have broad authority on park land

A Leelanau County woman was pulled over for speeding last week, but she was surprised to learn it was not a state trooper or sheriff's deputy that stopped her. It was a park ranger.

She wrote our newsroom asking how much authority park rangers have.

7&4 News went looking for the answers|.

At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, seasonal law enforcement rangers are busy this week undergoing their annual refresher training.

The seasonal rangers have a minimum of 400 hours...most permanent rangers start as seasonal|then once they become full time we send them to the Federal Law Enforcement Academy in Georgia and they receive 17 weeks of training plus 11 weeks of field training, said Phil Akers, Chief Ranger at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The National Lakeshore has eight full time rangers and four seasonal rangers.

They have full jurisdiction inside park limits, Akers said.

The law enforcement rangers hold the same authority as a state trooper or county deputy.

There are a lot of similarities...we investigate motor vehicle accidents inside the park, we enforce all state traffic codes, handle DUI TMs and speeding violations, said Akers.

In larger investigations, like a murder, Chief Akers said his rangers work hand-in-hand with the sheriff's department and FBI.

Click on the video above to view our complete report.

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