PITTSBURGH (KDKA)- Pittsburgh City Council has approved a measure to allow park rangers to hand out citations.
According to the Post-Gazette, six council members approved the legislation, while Councilwoman Darlene Harris abstained, saying she was concerned about it taking work away from union police officers.
Under the legislation, park rangers could cite someone for not putting out a cigarette after repeatedly being asked.
“By giving the rangers the teeth to be able to say, ‘Hey, this is the sixth time I’ve told you to put out your cigarette, now you’re gonna get a citation.’ This isn’t a gotcha legislation where we’re gonna be giving out fines left and right,” Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Conner said.
They could also cite people for breaking rules like unleashed dogs, damaging park property and not having a proper permit.
“People do cooperate and want to have a good experience in the park. So when they’re asked to follow the rules they’re very supportive,” Director of City Parks Director Jim Griffin
Three full-time rangers will begin issuing citations right away. Citiparks director Jim Griffin told the Post-Gazette that an additional 15 to 20 part-time rangers will also work during the warmer months at the city’s 171 parks.
This year, rangers will focus on Schenley Park and Riverview Park, as well as Allegheny Commons, Market Square and Mellon Square.
The unarmed rangers may also receive defensive personal safety training as soon as this summer. But, for criminal offenses in the park, Pittsburgh Police will still be called in.
The fines could be up to $300.