At a time when four women have been raped in the past month in popular New York City parks, some are calling attention to the dramatically depleted ranks of Parks Enforcement Patrol.
In the 1990s, the city kept on staff 450 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, according to Joseph Puleo, the vice president of DC 37 Local 983, the union that represents Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers.
By 2002, that number had been slashed to just 156. And today, there are only 91 city-funded officers who are available to patrol any and all parks.
...there was one PEP officer manning all of the parks in Queens this summer, while a majority of PEP officers were allocated to beaches and pools.
From the Daily News:
In the days since the attack, elected officials have called upon Mayor Bloomberg to halt any budget cuts to the NYPD or the Parks Department, which employs rangers.
But Bloomberg said Monday that New Yorkers need to accept that “we’re not going to put a cop on every corner.”
“We just can’t afford to do that,” he said. “But crimes continue to come down in the city.”
He said the police budget has not been cut “in a long time” and “the bottom line is we only have so much money.”
From CBS New York:
Elected officials led by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined together at Hudson River Park in Lower Manhattan in a show of solidarity and outrage.
“We’re not going to yield one blade of grass to sexual perpetrators. We’re not going to yield one street corner,” Quinn told reporters including WCBS 880′s Jim Smith.
Members of the city council have written a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an effort to prevent $100 million in mid-year NYPD budget cuts that could take some officers out of city parks.
From the NY Post:
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn needs a quick catch-up course on the City Charter.
Quinn called a Sunday press conference in the wake of a weekend rape in Hudson River Park to request that Mayor Bloomberg let the NYPD and the Parks Department off the hook when it comes to pending budget cuts.
Bloomberg, looking at substantial revenue shortfalls and related issues, last week told all his commissioners to begin planning for smaller budgets next year.
“We simply cannot take away resources from our NYPD at this time with these types of incidents occurring. We also cannot cut back on resources for parks enforcement. They have already been cut to [the] bone.”
On the merits, these are arguable points.
As expressed, though, they pretty much miss the point — which is that Speaker Quinn doesn’t have to ask Mayor Bloomberg for budgetary relief of any sort.
She writes the budget.
Or, at least, she has so much control over the budget-making process that if she wants the NYPD and Parks Department to be held harmless from the coming cuts, she can see to it that they are.
It’s all right there in the City Charter: The mayor proposes, and the council disposes.
Thank you, I couldn't have expressed this better myself. Beware the politicians that do dastardly deeds and then act surprised when there are bad results. The fact is that the mayor has presented budgets this past decade that have decimated the ranks of law enforcement and the Council Members bobbleheaded their way through the rubberstamp process each year with barely a whimper. After each budget was passed, there was Quinn - front and center - taking credit and bragging about how great the agreements were that she worked out. But now that the chickens are coming home to roost, she and others are "shocked and outraged" over how few officers are patrolling parks and that further cuts are proposed? Please give us all a break.
It's YOUR fault we have no cops, and we ain't letting you off the hook that easily.
In the past, there were knock-down, drag-out battles between the City Council and the mayor at budget time. Today's council members are more concerned with photo ops and hosted parties at the mayor's mansion, so they bend over for anything he wants. As you are aware, I am no fan of Bloomberg, but I don't blame him, I blame them. And you should, too. They are supposed to lead and represent the people and they do nothing but kowtow and represent themselves.