Less Than 200 Officers Patrol Watershed Larger Than State Of Delaware

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City has a special police force that operates only outside the five boroughs.

The officers are tasked with protecting the city’s drinking water at upstate reservoirs.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

“The watershed is the size of the state of Delaware. Actually, it’s bigger than the state of Delaware,” said Kenneth Wynder, head of the union that represents the New York City Department of Environmental Protection police.

The problem, according to Wynder, is that there are less than 200 DEP police protecting the reservoirs from anyone seeking to harm the drinking water supply.

“Terrorists, squatters on the land. We’ve got squatters living on the land. Not enough manpower to run them off. But they’re constantly there,” Wynder told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

DEP police rallied for more officers outside the department’s headquarters on Tuesday.

The DEP has almost doubled the size of the force over the past ten years and 30 more officers will be on the job soon, but Wynder says it’s not nearly enough.

“You had 90 people, so now you’re up to 188 but you’re still not protecting the watershed. It’s still not protected,” he said. “So are they waiting for something to happen? In this time and age, it needs to be protected.”

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