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

Great Parks of Hamilton County Rangers are state-certified law enforcement officers who exercise full police powers and provide year-round, 24-hour park patrol service. 

They enforce federal and state laws, as well as Great Parks of Hamilton County bylaws, to help ensure the safety and enjoyment of Great Parks’ visitors, the protection of park facilities, and its more than 18,000 acres of parkland. 

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

    Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
    Closed Christmas, New Year’s Day

  • 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
    • Werk Road Property

    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 nine 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, 2012–2012
    Thomas Doyle, 2013–2017
    Rick Spreckelmeier, 2017–2020
    Scott Snow, 2020–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.

    Learn More

  • 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. Ali Bird through Ranger Headquarters at 513-521-3980.

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