Any person selected by the chief of the division of parks and recreation for custodial or patrol service on the lands and waters operated or administered by the division of parks and recreation shall be employed in conformity with the law applicable to the classified civil service of the state. Subject to section 1541.11 of the Revised Code, the chief may designate that person as a park officer. A park officer, on any lands and waters owned, controlled, maintained, or administered by the department of natural resources and on highways, as defined in section 4511.01 of the Revised Code, adjacent to lands and waters owned, controlled, maintained, or administered by the division, has the authority specified under section 2935.03 of the Revised Code for peace officers of the department of natural resources to keep the peace, to enforce all laws and rules governing those lands and waters, and to make arrests for violation of those laws and rules, provided that the authority shall be exercised on lands or waters administered by another division of the department only pursuant to an agreement with the chief of that division or to a request for assistance by an enforcement officer of that division in an emergency. A park officer, in or along any watercourse within, abutting, or upstream from the boundary of any area administered by the department, has the authority to enforce section 3767.32 of the Revised Code and any other laws prohibiting the dumping of refuse into or along waters and to make arrests for violation of those laws. The jurisdiction of park officers shall be concurrent with that of the peace officers of the county, township, or municipal corporation in which the violation occurs. A state park, for purposes of this section, is any area that is administered as a state park by the division of parks and recreation.
The secretary of state, upon the recommendation of the chief, shall issue to each park officer a commission indicating authority to make arrests as provided in this section.
The chief shall furnish a suitable badge to each commissioned park officer as evidence of that park officer's authority.
If any person employed under this section is designated by the chief to act as an agent of the state in the collection of moneys resulting from the sale of licenses, fees of any nature, or other moneys belonging to the state, the chief shall require a surety bond from that person in an amount not less than one thousand dollars.
A park officer may render assistance to a state or local law enforcement officer at the request of that officer or may render assistance to a state or local law enforcement officer in the event of an emergency.
Park officers serving outside the division of parks and recreation under this section or serving under the terms of a mutual aid compact authorized under section 1501.02 of the Revised Code shall be considered as performing services within their regular employment for the purposes of compensation, pension or indemnity fund rights, workers' compensation, and other rights or benefits to which they may be entitled as incidents of their regular employment.
Park officers serving outside the division of parks and recreation under this section or under a mutual aid compact retain personal immunity from civil liability as specified in section 9.86 of the Revised Code and shall not be considered an employee of a political subdivision for purposes of Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code. A political subdivision that uses park officers under this section or under the terms of a mutual aid compact authorized under section 1501.02 of the Revised Code is not subject to civil liability under Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code as the result of any action or omission of any park officer acting under this section or under a mutual aid compact.
Effective Date: 09-26-2003