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Should Maine’s Forest Rangers Be Armed? The Task Force Continues its Review

Legislative leaders and others wear their support for arming Maine’s Forest Rangers at a legislative hearing in Augusta earlier this year. Photo credit-Susan Patten/TownSquare Media

Should Maine Forest Rangers be armed?

That was a topic of discussion that got a lot of attention from lawmakers in Augusta earlier this year, and the task force currently reviewing all of Maine’s Natural Resources Law Enforcement continues its work to have a final list of recommendations ready for Governor LePage in November.

Public Safety Commissioner, and task force Chair, John Morris says there are still a few more meetings for the task force ahead, but sentiment being expressed by the committee is largely in favor of arming Maine’s Forest Rangers.

“There’s some people who feel that the Rangers are in harms way at times and others who feel that they are not,so,we’re still working towards a conclusion on whether or not rangers should be armed,” states Morris. “The vote that was taken yesterday by the committee had a majority of people indicating that Rangers should be armed based on a number of caveats.”

Some of the questions that still remain according to Morris is whether or not all of the Rangers should be armed, or just some, and how will the equipment and training be paid for.

Commissioner Morris says the committee is also tasked with reviewing all branches of Natural Resources Law Enforcement in Maine which includes Rangers, Marine Patrol and Game Wardens, to determine if there are any redundancies of mission.

Depending on the recommendations of the task force Governor LePage may be able to act on them independently, or they may require legislative action, especially considering the need for appropriations to support equipment and firearms training.

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