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With the spike in violent crime and grand larcenies Downtown and within Battery Park City borders, I have been keeping an eye out the Park Enforcement Patrol officers (PEP) that the BPCA pays $2.5 million a year to retain. The authority hires 45 officers, far more than any other city park, yet walking PEP are rarely seen. Instead, they are almost always insulated from the community by riding around in Plexiglas enclosed electric vehicles.
That doesn’t cut it. The only way to truly enforce the laws of the community and prevent incidents, such as the mother and son who were robbed on the West Thames basketball court, is for the law enforcement staff to pound the pavement. There should be walking PEP officers at each of the parks at all times, 24/7.
With the great invention of Citi Bikes, I have been riding around BPC in the evening specifically making mental notes of when I spot a PEP patrol. Over the past week, I have literally never seen a single PEP walking the parks. I only occasionally see a PEP golf cart whizzing by, with two PEP per cart.
That raises another problem. Two PEP officers should not be wasted in the same location by riding tandem in a golf cart. Twice the area can be patrolled if they are split up.
The PEP golf carts can be unsafe to the public. Until recently, after many formal complaints, the PEP were driving the carts at night without lights. During the day, the carts are still a danger to faster bikes, or to unsuspecting pedestrians who cannot hear them.
The PEP will also benefit personally from the walking. Many of the staff are morbidly obese, starting with the Captain of them all, Ed Falcon.
Captain Falcon is the one who pushed to get the electric vehicle fleet, and loves to ride around in them. I have spotted him by Whole Foods in TriBeCa and on Church Street riding in BPCA-funded golf carts. Please email us or post a comment when you see a PEP golf cart outside of the borders of BPC.
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