PBA president calls for more park patrols after Croton drowning

The Westchester County PBA president is calling for increased patrolling at Croton Point Park after recovery teams called off a search for a drowning victim Thursday.

Police say Alex DeSouza went for a swim Tuesday and never resurfaced. The 47-year-old Brooklyn man disappeared about 150 yards offshore. Investigators say DeSouza and two friends had been fishing when he decided to go for a swim. They believe he was pulled away by the strong currents.

Michael Hagen, PBA president for Westchester County, says no officers were patrolling Croton Point Park when DeSouza disappeared. He says the county's police force is down 11 officers due to budget cuts, so patrols at many area parks, including Croton Point Park, have been scaled back.

The patrol at the park currently starts at 11 a.m. DeSouza disappeared about 15 minutes before the first patrol was scheduled to begin its rounds.

Hagen says he sent several letters to legislators warning of the dangers, but says the issue remains unresolved.

"If you fund us the way we're supposed to be funded, we'll be able to complete our mission, which is to provide public safety in the park," he said as a message to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Swimming is allowed at Croton Point Park, but in a specific area that is roped off and has lifeguards. However, swimming is banned in the area where DeSouza went in, but park officials and locals say the signs are routinely torn down.


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