At the Community Board 12 Meeting on Tuesday night it was announced that as a result of some increases in reported crime, the City intends to increase the presence of Uniformed Officers in the parks of northern Manhattan --a total of 14 Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers and 17 Police Department officers.
For clarification Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers are employed by the Parks Department and are peace officers empowered to issue summonses and make arrests when appropriate. You can spot a PEP officer by their distinctive all-green uniforms and unique special patrolmen shields. Additionally, the Parks Enforcement Patrol will be engaging their Mounted Auxiliary Unit.
This is a volunteer unit working in conjunction with the PEP officers patrolling in full uniform and on horseback to "ensure the preservation of the natural and living resources in the city's parks, as well as the safety of those utilizing the parks, by maintaining a clearly visible presence. They monitor areas that are not accessible by vehicle; they deter, identify and report illegal or unsafe activities that require police attention; and they advise the public on park rules and regulations."
Michael Dockett, an assistant commissioner for the Parks Department, said a PEP captain, two sergeants and five officers were added to the department's patrol in Highbridge Park this past week. They will also add a new trailer near Highbridge Pool, as well as bring in additional officers at the end of June.
Capt. Peter Andrea said he will be adding 17 probationary officers over the next few months, with two or three specifically dedicated to local parks. The 34th Precinct is generally patrolling inside the parks, although they often times dispatch response cars as well.
Lt. Caraballo of the neighboring 33rd Precinct said his precinct has the same number of probationary officers as the 34th, with additional patrol cars driving along Highbridge Park.