CB 8 Parks Committee passes resolution calling for additional law enforcement in Van Cortlandt Park

An uptick in unlawful activity at Van Cortlandt Park, pictured, has led Community Board 8 parks committee members to request the additional law enforcement in the area.
Photo Alex Mitchell

The Parks and Recreation Committee for Community Board 8 voted to introduce a resolution that would request additional law enforcement in Van Cortlandt Park, following what they say is a pattern of rule violations in the area. 

Debra Travis, the vice chairperson of the committee, said during the Jan. 25 meeting that while there are Urban Park Rangers in Van Cortlandt Park, there still remains a need for more law enforcement. She said the committee has been discussing requesting a Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Command since November. 

“I think we should continue to pursue it, and my thought that really the next step would be to do a resolution,” Travis said during the committee meeting last week. 

The goal, she said, is to bring a resolution to Community Board 8, as well as Community Boards 7 and 12 — which also encompass parts of the area — “so that we can kind of act as a united voice around VanCortlandt Park, assuming that they would be interested.” 

Travis said CBs 7, 8 and 12 have experienced a 55% increase in complaints from 2019 regarding Van Cortlandt Park due to escalating large gatherings, after-hours noise, motorized vehicles and homeless encampments, etc. The committee is requesting 12 PEP Command officers for the park — which is the third largest in the city at more than 1,000 acres. 

The committee deliberated on the language of the resolution during its meeting last week, primarily discussing whether or not it would be worth it to request a command station for the PEP officers in the initial document. In the end, the group decided to focus on solely requesting personnel. 

“If we actually, by some miracle, get the staffing that we’re looking for, I have no doubt that the Parks Department will figure out the logistics from that point on,” said Bob Bender, vice chairperson of CB8. 

The resolution passed unanimously at last week’s meeting. Now, the committee is set to take the resolution to the full CB8, as well as introduce it to CBs 7 and 12. The request will ultimately need to be approved by the Urban Park Service and the Mayor’s Office. 

Reach Camille Botello at cbotello@schnepsmedia.com. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes