PEP Officers Much Needed
In March, Queens’ residents were informed that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation had decided to increase the number of Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers in our borough’s parks.
In the summer, that number will be increased from just one to 81.
That’s correct. Prior to the announcement made on Mar. 6, the borough of Queens only had one PEP officer at their disposal.
Acres of parkland, including the historic Flushing Meadows Park, as well as the parks located within the 104th Precinct, simply could not be protected with the lack of resources from the Parks Department.
The decision to boost enforcement in our parks is much needed. Obviously, the thought of having sufficient enforcement with only one officer is laughable.
Parkland must be considered sacred; they are recreational spaces that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote enjoyment amongst all during the warmer months. On the other hand, we must be cautious with our parkland’s utilization. It is very easy to abuse a park’s infrastructure and overall ruin its resources for all.
By increasing PEP officers, we can rest assured that park patrons act in a more appropriate fashion.
Increasing the force of PEP officers definitely contributes to crime prevention. As the president of the 104th Precinct Community Council, my priority is to ensure that our police precinct is utilizing its resources to protect its citizens on a daily basis.
We must also remember that police precincts throughout the City of NewYork are underfunded and try to get by with what they presently have. By giving our borough more PEP officers, our police precinct will have more to work with. PEP officers will maintain order in our parks and our police will enforce crime prevention when necessary.
Overall, the decision by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to increase the number of PEP officers to serve the borough of Queens is a breath of fresh air. Just in time for the active spring and summer months, I believe that we will see decreases in criminal activity within our parks as well as much needed assistance to our local police precincts.
Editor’s note: John Perricone is president of the 104th Precinct Community Council.