What does it take to be a National Park Service law enforcement ranger?

Danielle Breakell graduated from her law enforcement training academy this week. She has the skills to take down an armed fugitive, as well as a black bear or a bison.

She’ll be able to read perpetrators their Miranda rights, while also citing the Endangered Species Act. And she will gladly write tickets for littering along with driving under the influence.

Breakell, 29, is one of 22 cadets who graduated this week, from the 100th class of the National Park Service Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Academy at Southwestern Community College, where students learn the basics of policing with a specialty in park protection.

The school, established in 1978, was one of the first two in the country to train law enforcement rangers to protect the natural resources and people visiting national parks, and remains one of only seven in the country where park rangers get their jump start.

The park ranger job market is hot. The National Park Service, which includes 417 sites from the Statue of Liberty to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Alaska’s Denali to Hawaii’s Volcanoes, has reached an all-time popularity high.

Last year, 331 million people visited national parks, tying a record set in 2016, according to the Park Service. The most visited of all park sites was the Blue Ridge Parkway, with 16.1 million visitors. The most visited national park was the Smokies with 11.3 million visitors.

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