Public Safety and Resource Protection

About Public Safety and Resource Protection

Ranger with kids at on a hikeRanger with the ocean as a backgroundRanger at Lake Millerton during sunset

Few places in the world exist like California, where one can enjoy majestic mountains, wide-open deserts, cool forests, sunny seashores and clear lakes. California State Parks preserves the best of California for all to enjoy, whether it’s outdoor fun, peaceful relaxation or learning more about history, nature and California.

More than 100 million people visit California State Parks each year. The Department employs over 500 peace officers to safeguard both visitors and the historical, cultural and natural resources in our state parks. 

State Park Rangers and Lifeguards help maintain, interpret and protect California’s state parks for future generations.

State Park Peace Officer (SPPO) Rangers and Lifeguards provide not only public safety law enforcement and aquatic rescue services; they also provide public education through interpretation.

State Park Rangers and Lifeguards are trained peace officers with statewide peace officer authority.

They help operate and manage State Park units and perform the following duties:

Interpret natural, historic and cultural resources • Perform first aid • Assist and advise park visitors regarding rules and regulations • Operate and maintain emergency equipment • Perform cliff rescues and underwater diving • Rescue persons or vessels in distress


How to Start a Career in Public Safety and Resource Protection

Benefits & Compensation

Ranger at OHV park

State Park Peace Officers enjoy excellent benefits:

• Health, dental and vision care • Retirement benefits • Paid vacation • Promotional opportunities • Training and education reimbursements ?Pay differentials

State Park Peace Officer Compensation 

Veterans Preference - Thank you for your service! Learn about the job search benefits you have because of your military experience! 

Positions in Public Safety and Resource Protection Include:

Positions in Public Safety and Resource Protection Include:

You have many opportunities to explore statewide!

This series includes the Cadet, Ranger, and Supervisor levels

The State Park Peace Officer (Ranger) series describes professional positions involved in the law enforcement and visitor services functions of the State park system. These classifications have full peace officer powers pursuant to Penal Code Section 830.2, and perform the full range of peace officer duties and responsibilities in accomplishing their assignments.

Peace officer duties include, but are not limited to: patrol (vehicle, boat, foot, etc.), issuing citations, writing reports, making physical arrests, conducting investigations, taking command in emergencies, performing search and rescue activities, and providing emergency medical aid. Performing these duties requires the use of protective equipment (e.g. firearms, electronic control weapons, batons, chemical agents, and handcuffs), and regular training and testing in physical defensive tactics and firearms use. Other important aspects of ranger duties include visitor services, natural and cultural resource protection, administration, and interpretation and education.

Opportunities for specialized assignments (e.g. cliff rescue, SCUBA diving, off-road vehicle and motorcycle patrol, canine handler, etc.) are also available.

Learn more about the SPPO Ranger series and minimum qualifications.

This series includes the Cadet, Lifeguard, and Supervisor I-III levels

State Park Lifeguards are open-water lifesaving professionals and trained peace officers with statewide authority. They help operate and manage state park units including coastal beaches, inland lakes, reservoirs, and rivers.

Public Safety Aquatic Rescues Medical Aid Operating and Maintaining Emergency Equipment Law Enforcement Services Specialty Assignments such as SCUBA Diving & Swiftwater Rescue
Visitor Assistance Advising visitors of rules and regulations & providing general park information through superior customer service
Public Education and Interpretation Community Outreach Interpretive Programs, Junior Lifeguard Program and more!
Park Resource Protection and Management

Aquatic Safety in California State Parks 
Lifeguard I (Seasonal) 
Lifeguard II (Seasonal
Junior Lifeguard Program 

History of Lifeguards in California 

Learn more about the SPPO Lifeguard series and minimum qualifications. 

This series includes levels I-V

State Park Superintendents are professional positions within the State Park System responsible for the protection and management of natural and cultural resources, public safety and law enforcement functions, visitor services, interpretation programs, real property management, and facilities maintenance. State Park Superintendents work throughout the State primarily within districts of the State Park System which include State parks, reserves, historical units, recreation areas, beaches, wayside campgrounds, and underwater parks. Positions in the series may also be assigned to Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Units or to headquarters functions.

Learn more about the State Park Superintendent series and minimum qualifications

Ranger Hendricks with K9

Current Vacancies

See current vacancies in Public Safety and Resource Protection

Park vacancies (State Park Peace Officer)

Join the Parks Family and Live the Parks Life!    

Have questions?

Contact the Workforce Planning and Recruitment Office at

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