The NYPD is pulling back some of its police presence in Forest Park months after beefing up patrols following an August rape cops connected to five other sexual assaults in the park between March 2011 and this summer.
Police decided to remove eight cop cars that were patrolling the area after there were no additional sex crimes reported in the six weeks following the rape, the 102nd Precinct’s commanding officer, Henry Sautner, said at the most recent Community Board 9 (CB9) meeting. He said the resources for the coverage could not be maintained on an ongoing basis.
Sautner said there will still be two officers assigned to patrol the park. They are also utilizing auxiliary officers through their 56-member auxiliary program, with two to three operations per week in Forest Park.
“They’re the police officers and I believe they know best what they are doing,” said Mary Ann Carey, CB9 District Manager.
But Carey said she would like to see more Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers, for which the community has been lobbying.
A Parks Department spokesperson said this fall new PEP substations in Forest Park and in Rockaway will be opening “allowing [them] to more easily patrol the parks of western and southern Queens, respectively.” The substations, said the spokesperson, were made possible due to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget, which also doubled the amount of city-funded PEP officers that are available for patrols.