Great Parks Rangers
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
Mitchell Memorial Forest
Oak Glen Nature Preserve
Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve
Newberry Wildlife Sanctuary
Richardson Forest Preserve
Little Miami Golf Center / Avoca Trailhead / Bass Island
Otto Armleder Memorial Park
Withrow Nature Preserve
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.
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.
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.