Mission: To provide a safe and pleasant atmosphere for family recreation; to protect and preserve life and property within the parks; to inform and assist the public; and to provide these services in a courteous and professional manner.

Great Parks Rangers

are state-certified law enforcement officers who exercise full police powers by providing year-round, 24-hour park patrol service. They help ensure the safety and enjoyment of Great Parks’ visitors, as well as the protection of park facilities and more than 17,500 acres of park land.

Great Parks of Hamilton County Rangers are state-certified peace officers who enforce federal and state laws, as well as Great Parks of Hamilton County bylaws. Rangers are trained in CPR and first aid and patrol by car, ATV, bike and foot.

Upcoming Events

  • Contact Us

    For emergencies, dial 911. 

    For all non-emergencies, please call the Ranger Dispatch line during office hours or the Hamilton County Communications Center after-hours. 

    Ranger Dispatch: 513-521-3980
    Hamilton County Communications Center: 513-825-2280

    Ranger Dispatch Office Hours

    November–MarchDaily, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
    April–OctoberMon–Tue, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.; Wed–Sun, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.
    Holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve8 a.m.–4 p.m.
    Holidays: Christmas, New Year’s DayClosed
  • 2019 Click It or Ticket Campaign

    May 20 - June 2

    As an integral part of this year's national Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign, the Great Parks of Hamilton County Ranger Division will be teaming up with law enforcement nationwide for a Border to Border (B2B) kickoff event. The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asks all states to participate in B2B, a one-day national seat belt awareness event on May 20, which is coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons.

    The B2B program aims to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement and providing seat belt fact sheets for drivers at heavily traveled, highly visible state border checkpoints.

    According to NHTSA, 10,076 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants lost their lives in crashes in the United States in 2017. Additionally, 55% of these deaths occurred at night (6 p.m.-5:59 a.m.). That's why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign and the B2B kickoff event is nighttime enforcement.

    The Border to Border  component  of the Click  It or Ticket  campaign is so important  because it raises awareness about seat belt safety during the time period when seat belts are least used. With an increased number of cars flooding the streets during the Memorial Day holiday, it's imperative to get the word out about the importance of seat belt safety.

    "If the enforcement crackdown wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we'll consider our mission a success," said Ranger Chief Richard Spreckelmeier. If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help spread this message before the life of one more friend or family member is lost as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone-front seat and back, child and adult-needs to remember to buckle up-every trip, every time.

    For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/ciot

  • About the Rangers

    Great Parks Rangers are state-certified law enforcement officers who exercise full police powers by providing year-round, 24-hour park patrol service. They help ensure the safety and enjoyment of Great Parks’ visitors, as well as the protection of park facilities and more than 17,500 acres of park land.

    Historically, the term “ranger” often referred to protection of our nation’s conservation areas by skilled mounted officers. Over time, “ranger” has also been applied to a variety of park-related functions, from naturalists to natural resource managers. Today, Great Parks Ranger Department has a staff of more than 35 rangers who work proudly work for both the protection and conservation of park lands and wildlife and the enforcement of state laws and park bylaws.

    As state-certified police officers, Great Parks Rangers have all passed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, as required by law, and are required to meet all annual training standards as set forth by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Council. Great Parks Rangers are trained for emergency response, investigation and reporting and are continuously receiving updated training to maintain a high level of excellence and professionalism.

    Ranger Headquarters is located in Winton Woods, where a team of civilian staff members assist with dispatching for the five ranger districts. Ranger stations are located at each of the following parks: Miami Whitewater Forest, Sharon Woods, Shawnee Lookout, Winton Woods and Woodland Mound. Below is a list of which parks are covered by which ranger district.

    Miami Whitewater Forest 
    Campbell Lakes
    Mitchell Memorial Forest
    Oak Glen Nature Preserve

    Sharon Woods 
    Francis RecreAcres
    Lake Isabella

    Shawnee Lookout 
    Embshoff Woods
    Fernbank Park

    Winton Woods 
    Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve
    Glenwood Gardens
    Newberry Wildlife Sanctuary
    Richardson Forest Preserve
    Triple Creek

    Woodland Mound 
    Kroger Hills
    Little Miami Golf Center / Avoca Trailhead / Bass Island
    Otto Armleder Memorial Park
    Withrow Nature Preserve

  • Annual Reports

  • History

    When Sharon Woods was established in 1932 as the first park of the Hamilton County Park District, one individual was employed to handle the maintenance, safety and service duties. Later, department heads were deputized by the Hamilton County Sheriff who authorized them to handle the preservation of the parks in addition to handling their other full-time duties. As park officers, their main function was to make sure all park buildings were secure.

    In 1932, the first night policeman was hired and deputized by Hamilton County Sheriff Asa Butterfield. In October of 1932, a second night policeman was hired. These two police officers were issued leather jackets and .38-caliber pistols.

    In 1933, hats, badges and shirts were issued.

    In 1936, the park district had a police captain for their park policemen. Pickup trucks were used as both police cruisers and for general park maintenance.

    In 1938, the first ranger patrol boat was purchased.

    In 1940, Ohio State Examiners approved purchase of the first complete uniforms for the park police.

    In 1945, the Hamilton County Park District Commissioners established the Hamilton County Park District Ranger Department.

    In 1952, radios were purchased and the Hamilton County Park District became the first park district in Ohio to initiate 24-hour patrol.

    The Great Parks Ranger Department has had eight chiefs since formalizing the ranger department into an independent law enforcement agency in 1973:

    Ross Lowe, 1973–1977
    Bob Mason, 1977–1978
    Clell Ballew, 1978–1983
    Rick Greer, 1983–2005
    Steve Newsom, 2005–2012
    Ed Butler, 2012–2013
    Thomas Doyle, 2013–2017
    Rick Spreckelmeier, 2017–present

    In 2013, Hamilton County Park District changed its name to Great Parks of Hamilton County. Today, the Great Parks Ranger Department employs more than 35 rangers who patrol park property by means of cruiser, foot, bike, boat and ATV.

  • Jobs

    Want to become a Great Parks Ranger? Interested applicants for both part-time and full-time positions must possess an appropriate combination of education, training, course work and experience.

    More Information >
  • Programs & Parades

    The Great Parks of Hamilton County ranger department routinely sends department personnel to participate in community parades, school events and more. If you would like to learn more about having a Great Parks Ranger participate in your event, please contact Lt. Greg Grimm through Ranger Headquarters at 513-521-3980.

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