With Phase 3 of reopening in New York City just around the corner, people will soon be flocking to parks and playgrounds.
However, in order to ensure safety of New Yorkers at parks, elected officials want money allocated for the police in the budget put towards Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) instead
On June 22, Councilman Andrew Cohen and several other pols, sent a letter to the mayor asking for an increase in funding for the PEP.
“The administration can tactically address the city’s needs by reallocating funding to PEP, an existing team that is well-suited to take on a larger role in managing increased activity in parks,” the letter stated. “The city currently relies on PEP officers to maintain security and enforce rules while also ensuring that parks remain safe and welcoming.”
According to the elected officials, prioritizing the presence of PEP officers in parks rather than NYPD officers reinforces the city’s commitment to reducing funding for the NYPD and policing across the boroughs.
As the city is prepared to slash millions in the parks budget in the wake of COVID-19, the Council is hoping to find monies to retain its 80 PEP officers.
“With limited options for recreation in the city, parks will continue to be a lifeline for our communities, visited by unprecedented numbers of residents,” Cohen said. “We urge the administration to shift funding from the NYPD to PEP officers who are better prepared to protect these vital community resources and address local needs. At a time when we need our parks the most, the city must ensure meaningful cuts to the policing budget are reinvested in a model of parks enforcement rooted in the preservation of community spaces and delivery of social services.”