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Councilman Vallone: More Parks Enforcement Officers Needed In Queens

Queensbridge Park (file / credit: Julie Gould / Speical to CBSNewYork)

Queensbridge Park (file / credit: Julie Gould / Speical to CBSNewYork)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - If you love spending time in Queens parks, you might be interested in the following interplanetary comparison.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

“There are as many rovers on the surface of Mars as there are parks enforcement officers roving our Queens parks,” said Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. on Tuesday.

That number, in case you were wondering, is one.

“It’s an outrage,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman. “It’s something we didn’t know about and it is something that has to be changed immediately.”

“They cannot leave the parks barren, which is what they’re doing now,” he said.

That is not quite true, according to First Deputy Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh.

“We have a dozen full time PEP [Parks Enforcement Patrol] officers assigned to Queens,” Kavanagh told Silverman. “During the summer, the focus is on the beaches and pools.”

Vallone said that actually speaks to his point – that they’re not in the parks.

“They are the ones that are supposed to give tickets for loud radios, open barbecues, quality of life stuff,” Vallone said.

“Yes, you’re not going to have somebody in a park everyday and I don’t think its necessary,” Kavanagh said.

He noted that they do have close to 100 seasonal security officers, but Vallone said they are essentially summer interns in shirts with no power to give a summons or make an arrest.

Kavanagh added that it’s easy for the councilman to say ‘hire more,’ and admitted that they have had to cut back.

“All things being equal, we would love to have more PEP officers,” he said, adding that it should be the NYPD taking the lead in keeping the parks safe.

Do you feel safe in Queens parks? Sound off in the comments section below.