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Rangers begin to patrol city’s parks at key times

There are more sets of eyes keeping watch in Napa’s parks.

The city’s first two park rangers went on duty in mid-December, starting a series of nightly patrols to help open and close recreation areas, enforce park rules, and deter vandalism and littering. And in the coming months, their jobs will expand to guiding and educating visitors on natural and historic landmarks in and around Napa parks, according to the Parks and Recreation department.

Two part-time rangers will be joined by three more who have been hired by the city to watch over eight city-owned parks, including the downtown Oxbow Commons, Fuller Park in Old Town and Kennedy Park in the south. Patrols on foot and in city-owned trucks take place from 7 to 11 p.m. on weeknights, and during the dawn-to-dusk period when parks are open on Saturdays and Sundays.

At each site, rangers will lock gates and bathrooms and check for any unusual activity on the grounds, reporting any incidents to Napa’s police and fire dispatch center with two-way radios, according to Parks and Recreation director John Coates. Self-defense instruction from Napa Police is a part of the rangers’ four-month training program, but they do not carry weapons or hold law enforcement certification, he said.

Besides reducing the risk of mischief and damage, the main goal of the ranger program is to help park users willingly follow the rules.

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