PBA of NYS Calls for Supplemental Staffing to Manage Seasonal Crowds
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Criticizes Council 82 for Failing to Effectively Advocate for ALES Officers.
The Police Benevolent Association of New York State (PBA of New York State), an organization representing the interests of more than 1,100 law enforcement officers across the state, today called on state and local leaders to take action to ensure the safety of law enforcement officers and the public during the busy summer season by supplementing the staffing levels at state parks, camp grounds and forests with state and municipal police forces.
The PBA of New York State is also criticizing Council 82, the union currently representing Park, Environmental Conservation, University Police, and State Forest Rangers for failing to adequately advocate or effectively lobby for the restoration of training academy classes, a key recruitment and retention tool, which have been repeatedly cancelled since 2008. The officers affected comprise the Agency Law Enforcement Service (ALES) Unit.
“New York State is home to spectacular beaches, coastlines and parks, however, without the benefit of adequate law enforcement staffing, the large crowds that are being attracted to Long Island locations such as Jones Beach and Hither Hills create a potentially volatile situation,” said Manny Vilar, President of the PBA of New York State.
The Park Police force has seen its statewide ranks plummet from a high of more than 500 full and part-time officers in 2003, to a current level of approximately 200.
"During the busy Fourth of July weekend, more than three million people flocked to various state managed properties across the New York, but the fundamental reality is that budget cuts, retirement, and attrition have reduced the ranks of officers available to patrol these vast facilities and safely manage large crowds,” Vilar said.
“Officers are being placed in a dangerous situation, and from my point of view, calling for state and municipal back-up would be a prudent management action for the balance of the summer season. Council 82 has forgotten about its ALES members and turned its back on its own officers who face risk with the start of each shift. It’s the job of the union to protect its members and the security of their families,” said Dan De Federicis, PBA of New York State’s Executive Director.
Earlier this summer at Rockland Lake State Park, an officer was injured during a fight among patrons that erupted into a melee involving more than 50 people.