In the wake of the recent rescue of a 9-year-old girl who went missing at Moreau Lake State Park, questions regarding the safety and security measures in New York State Parks have surfaced.
The young girl was found two days after her disappearance, leading to the arrest of Craig Ross, Jr., who now faces 1st-degree kidnapping charges.
Governor Kathy Hochul praised the efforts of the numerous law enforcement agencies involved in the search. However, Jim McCartney, President of the Police Benevolent Association of New York State, expressed concerns about the state’s decision to remove State Park Police from Moreau Lake State Park and 195 other sites during the summer, leaving State Police in charge.
The shift in policing has been contentious, with some parks operating under a “Response Only” status where State Police arrive only when summoned by park supervisors. While representatives of the State Park Police stress that the joint plan with State Police is to improve public safety, the recent incident has intensified scrutiny.
Amidst these concerns, a bipartisan bill was introduced on September 30th, proposing a transfer of regional state park police duties to the division of state police. This comes amidst previous complaints regarding the disparities in benefits and incentives between State Park Police and other state law enforcement.
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