Officials from the Parks Department announced it will be adding 81 new Parks Enforcement Patrol officers (PEP) to help prevent crime in greenspaces around the city. Parks Commissioner Veronica White and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski made the announcement at the monthly meeting of the Astoria Civic Association.
Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr., chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he has been working to achieve this addition for over a year.
“Crime is rising in our parks, and a handful of officers to keep an entire borough of parkland safe just won’t cut it,” said Vallone.
He also said that last summer, he found out only one PEP officer was assigned to patrol parks in Queens.
“I’m glad the city has finally decided to hire more PEP officers, but we have to make sure Queens gets enough of them to keep people safe,” said Vallone.
The Parks Department hopes to have officers out in the parks by the middle of the summer after they receive training.
“These new officers will patrol parks in all of the five boroughs and will almost double the number of city-funded officers that we have on patrol,” said a Parks Department spokesperson.