DETROIT – State police say a female park ranger was assaulted Saturday night on Belle Isle as she was trying to lock up the restrooms.
Police say a man tried going around her when she told him to leave. He pushed her and called her “white privileged” before taking off.
It's standard island procedure to lock up the bathrooms on Belle Isle around 9:30 in the evening. Luckily, the park ranger was able to get back to her golf cart and get away.
The Michigan State Employees Association says park rangers often do the job of peace officers, without the training or equipment.
"I’ve had park rangers held at gunpoint, and with that their lives are in danger," said Ken Moore, the President of the Michigan State Employees Association.
Union officials are calling for rangers to be trained and armed with guns or tasers and given body armor and proper communication tools.
"The department needs to take notice and take immediate action in my mind," said Moore.
It's important to note that state police and conservation officers also patrol the island.
The union says park rangers are generally equipped with handcuffs, pepper spray and a baton. They say it's up to the DNR to approve and fund training, including better equipment, like guns.