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People v. Van Buren

Citation: 35 ELR 20098
No. Nos. 52, 53, (N.Y., 05/10/2005)

New York's highest court held that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Water Supply Police are authorized to enforce traffic laws within the city's watershed. The DEP officers were authorized as police officers under the state's criminal procedure law to stop the defendants for speeding infractions. And defendants' claim that the DEP police should be restricted to law enforcement activities related specifically to the protection of water facilities or a direct water source (a lake or reservoir, for example) is inconsistent with the express delegation of police power to this force. Protection of the water supply cannot be accomplished by guarding lakes and reservoirs alone since watershed lands are "water sources" that the DEP police are required to protect.