(CBS) NEW YORK - Following reports CBS New York.that injured five people - including a toddler - in a New York City park, Parks Enforcement Patrol officers are pushing the city to give them guns,
The parks officers are able to carry batons, handcuffs and vests, and can even make arrests, but they are at a disadvantage without guns, Parks Enforcement Union Local 983 Vice President Joe Puleo said.
Now, the union is pushing the City Parks and Recreation Department to sign off on arming the nearly 170 officers, saying many times, they are the first on the scene of violent incidents, reports the station.
"If you're not armed, you're unable and ill-equipped to handle crime," Puleo said.
However, the Parks Department argues incidents in the parks make up just a tiny fraction of overall crime. A spokeswoman for the department said the officers focus on quality-of-life issues and leave crime fighting to the New York Police Department, reports the station.