Latest crop of New York State Park Police grads ready for duty

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Dozens of new officers will soon fan out across the state, responding to emergencies and assisting law enforcement agencies in criminal matters after graduating from the New York State Park Police academy.

The 33 new officers in the 2014 class, which included 10 Long Islanders, graduated Friday after completing six months of training in upstate Rensselaerville.

"The State Park Police are providing an essential service to New Yorkers and our visitors," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.

The new officers are part of an organization that aids law enforcement statewide while "maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment across all of our State Parks," Cuomo said.

They are the latest class to graduate from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Police Academy since the academy was brought back in 2012 after a three-year lapse due to budget cuts.

Last year, officers from the academy brought the statewide total of park police personnel to 233, up from 205 the previous year. On Long Island, the number of police rose last year from 50 to 61, taking into account resignations and retirements.

In 2008, there were 301 police statewide and 84 on Long Island.

"Their training has prepared them for a challenging and rewarding career -- protecting New York State's system of parks and historic sites and the millions of people who visit them," State Parks Director of Park Police Richard O'Donnell said in a statement.

Academy training consisted of legal education in areas such as penal, criminal procedure, vehicle and traffic, park and recreation and criminal investigations law.

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Also, the recruits received training in firearms, first response, snowmobile operation, basic boat and emergency vehicle operation and rope rescue.

The officers will be assigned to regional commands throughout the state. They will begin a 10-week field program where they will receive supervised training from senior officers, followed by assignments to patrol responsibilities.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has 179 parks and 35 state historic sites that attract more than 60 million visitors each year, state officials said.

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