Should Probation Officers Be Patrolling Hudson Valley Malls?
A new pilot program putting officers on shopping patrol was launched by the owner of two Hudson Valley malls.
The Pyramid Group, which operates the Poughkeepsie Galleria and the Galleria at Crystal Run, has asked local law enforcement to help keep the peace at two of their upstate properties. The pilot program puts probation officers on patrol during peak hours in an effort to stem violence and keep the peace.
According to The Buffalo News, Eerie County legislators voted 7-4 to approve the company's request to send officers to the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga. A similar program is already in place at the Pyramid-owned Destiny USA mall in Syracuse. The Galleria will reimburse the county to pay for the officers to patrol the mall. The one-year pilot program is expected to cost the mall over $55,000.
The question remains whether Pyramid will decide to roll the program out to other New York malls, including the Poughkeepsie Galleria and the Galleria at Crystal Run. The program initially started after an uptick in violent incidents at the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse. A recent gun incident at the Crossgates Mall in Albany, which left a 17-year old girl shot in the hand, is cited as another reason for increasing the presence of officers at the mall.
While probation officers are considered peace officers, they do carry firearms and are trained to respond to emergency situations. Their main focus, however, will be interacting with shoppers and making them feel more secure.
Do you think this program would work well here in the Hudson Valley? We'd love to know what you think about armed probation officers patrolling malls in Poughkeepsie and Middletown. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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