South Bend park rangers stripped of guns

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – South Bend stripped park rangers of carrying guns nearly two months ago. 

The decision was made by Deputy Mayor Mark Neal and Police Chief Ron Teachman. 


There has been an on-going debate on if disarming them was the right decision.


People in the community say this decision affects the safety of those going to South Bend parks.  


In South Bend, there are over 60 parks, making community members more concerned, saying six rangers (three part-time and three full-time) without weapons cannot keep parks safe.


President of the Parks Board Robert Goodrich says he was shocked by the decision, and he has one concern. 


“The safety of our employees that we ask to go out in the general public and not knowing what they might run into, asking them to take care of whatever the situation is.”


Goodrich also believes that without a gun, park rangers will not be respected, which is a dangerous situation.  


Daycare owner Diana Washington has noticed an increase of shady activity in one of the parks by her house.


John Boyer has owned his business near Howard Park for 33 years, and he says that it depends heavily on the reputation of Howard Park.  


The city stripped the park rangers of their guns because they do not have the extensive training needed to carry and shoot firearms.


Goodrich has an idea for the city, saying they could go to retired police officers who have the license to carry the gun, they just do not have the proper training.  


Rangers cannot even carry tazers for protection.


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