This isn't a good sign. Local 983, the union that represents the city's Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, says they've been ordered to conduct nightly sweeps in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens to kick out homeless people, and they're not excited about it. "They have no guns and often encounter dangerous situations and are simply not given enough manpower and backup," Local 983 VP Joe Puleo told the Daily News. Parks Department officials deny that any new sweeps have been ordered, but that's not stopping everyone else from sounding off.
Since the force is down to just 152 officers, Puleo says park cops will now have to conduct nighttime sweeps of parks in teams of just two or three instead of the usual five. He warned, "Some of the homeless conditions we have encountered on our patrol are seriously mentally ill and combative and emotionally disturbed people," so much so that the pepper spray and baton park cops are allowed to carry aren't enough. Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates said, "Putting public employees in harm's way is not good for the city." If the sweeps continue, may we suggest starting with Inwood Hill park?