~ Park Rangers Association of California
Professionalism Through Unity Since 1976
PRAC Honorary Lifetime Member 2003
The Park Rangers Association of California is pleased to announce that the 2003 recipient of the Honorary Lifetime Member Award is Bill Orr.
Bill is the founder and director of the National Park Service Seasonal Law Enforcement Ranger Academy through Santa Rosa Junior College. The Honorary Lifetime Member Award is the highest honor PRAC can bestow upon individuals who have performed distinguished service toward the goals of the association.
Bill started his career with the NPS in 1950 as a Seasonal Park Ranger at Devil’s Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Bill worked his way up through the ranks and through many assignments retiring as the Chief Ranger for the Western Region of the NPS in 1980. His responsibility covered in excess of 33 NPS areas in the Western United States. As Chief Ranger he was senior ranger in many regional matters including law enforcement. During his service as the Chief Ranger, he pioneered the concept of a Seasonal Ranger Law Enforcement Academy. Bill fought for the program against great political resistance. Many people felt that the only people who should be commissioned as law enforcement officers were those that graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Bill protested that the seasonal ranger forces were the backbone of the NPS because during peak seasons, they comprise approximately 60% of the Ranger personnel.
Bill’s practical proposal for a Seasonal Law Enforcement program precluded them from service of arrest warrants and investigation of major crimes, thus differentiating them from the FLETC trained law enforcement park personnel. Based on this premise, Bill began the groundwork for the Seasonal Law Enforcement Program in 1977 and presented the first class in the spring of 1978 through Santa Rosa Junior College.
His successful program was emulated throughout the United States and accepted by FLETC as the training model for the Seasonal Law Enforcement program. The program Bill created helped establish a professional training standard not only for NPS Seasonal Law Enforcement Rangers but for several local agencies in California as well. 105 classes have graduated from the program Bill created at SRJC.
PRAC is honored to recognize Bill for his distinguished service devoted toward the goals of PRAC which includes establishing professional training standards for park rangers, providing professional training for rangers, educating agencies on the problems rangers face in the field and accenting the need for training. Bill’s dedication and commitment are an example to all.