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Contact: Jane Cowley, 215-597-0060
Philadelphia:This summer, the Law Enforcement staff of Independence National Historical Park will have a new team member: Ken Franklin, the "Bark Ranger."
A 2 ½ year old German Shepherd, K-9 Ranger Ken Franklin is a federal law enforcement officer able to detect a wide variety of explosives. He recently completed a Philadelphia Police Department 10-week training course approved by the U.S. Police Canine Association. Philadelphia Police Department Officers Jane DiPasquale and Jim Zimmerman joined Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, for a graduation ceremony on May 29 on Independence Mall.
"Ken did exceptionally well in his training, and we have high expectations for him here at the park," Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod said. "With Ken, we can reinforce our screening and security measures, strengthening even more our ability to provide our visitors and staff a safe experience at Independence without interfering with visitor services."
"Ken was a favorite of mine, and I was sorry to see him go," said Shane Meuschke, the breeder who raised Ken. "It's good to know that his special skills will be put to use in place of such national significance."
Ken Franklin will be working in Independence National Historical Park as a full-time K-9 with his handler, National Park Ranger Nick Iannelli.Independence National Historical Park relies on working dogs during major festivals and events, dignitary visits and emergency situations.
Up to now, Independence National Historical Park has relied on other law enforcement agencies in the area, including the Philadelphia Police Department, the U.S. Park Police and the Federal Protective Services, for the services of their working dogs. With the addition of Ken to the staff, Independence NHP will be more proactive with security screening, will be able to provide a safer response to calls regarding suspicious packages, and will also open up opportunities to work more efficiently with other law enforcement agencies.
Ken Franklin has demonstrated a strong enthusiasm for his work and takes his job seriously. Visitors are invited to say hello, but asked not to pet him while he's on the job. Visitors can learn more about Ken through his occasional tweets @IndependenceNHP #BarkRanger.