NORTH BABYLON - State police union officials claim there will not be enough state park police on patrol at Long Island's state parks this summer.
There are currently 35 state park police officers on all of Long Island and nine recruits still in training. By the end of June, there will be 44 on patrol.
The union says its ranks are hurting because no new officers were hired during the recession. They say lower salaries have made it difficult to keep people on the job.
In a statement, a New York State Parks spokesman says, "To assist Park Police in peak summer months, state parks anticipates hiring an additional 105 public safety rangers."
New York State PBA President Manny Vilar says that won't cut it.
"They're not police officers. They're not law enforcement professionals. They're high school and college kids looking for a summer job," said Vilar.
The state parks spokesman also says they partner with local police for large-scale events and emergencies.
Another park police academy will also start this fall. The state PBA is pushing for legislation that would allow the state to hire more park police officers.