COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – It’s been a violent spring at some of Columbus’ parks, and city leaders are taking steps to prevent it from turning into a violent summer.

Columbus City Council and the Columbus Division of Police said more police and updated security are the first steps to fighting the crime in the city’s parks.

“Our message and our goal is to ensure these parks are safe, that the streets are safe, that these summer festivals are safe,” said Columbus Chief of Police Elaine Bryant at a Columbus City Council meeting Monday. “We want people to come out and enjoy themselves.”

Part of the plan is called the City Parks Special Operations, which will entail Columbus police officers volunteering to work overtime specifically at the city’s parks.

The other step in the plan was approved by council Monday: $500,000 for more cameras and lights at the parks.

The move comes during a month that saw four shootings at four different parks which resulted in three deaths and an 8-year-old girl being injured.

“The message I’m going to give people is to come out, enjoy your summer, and allow us to do our job and keep you safe,” Bryant said.

Bryant said that despite the shootings, the parks are safer than some feel they are.

“But again, everything is about perception, which is why it’s so important for us to be out there, to be on the bikes, to be in the parks, to do the walkways,” she said. “Because I want the residents to feel safe in the parks.”

City council took two steps in order to make these happen. First, council approved a memorandum of understanding with the police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, to allow extra overtime over the summer, which will allow officers to sign up to work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights specifically in the city’s parks.

Bryant is confident officers will sign up for the duty.

“The reality is we do have a shortage, but we also have officers that are willing to step up and that are willing to work and do what it takes to make sure our residents are going to stay safe,” she said.

A tweet from Brian Steel, executive vice president of the FOP, supported the programs.

“@capcityfop members always have & always will be dedicated to serving residents & providing safety at city parks,” the tweet reads. “We appreciate Chief Bryant for her focus on providing solutions to reducing violent crime plaguing our city and @ColumbusCouncil for funding.”

Council also approved spending $500,000 to go toward renting 25 new mobile camera and lighting systems for the parks.

“To make sure that people are aware that these are our parks and we will not tolerate violence within our community,” said Councilmember Emmanuel Remy, chairman of council’s public safety committee.

“The lighting, 100% support, and I think officers just being around for added kind of safety and feelings of safety are important because people want to be outside,” said Columbus resident Briana Lynem, who was walking in one of the parks shortly after council’s votes.

“Just remember these are family environments,” Bryant said. “I’m asking, I’m pleading for some of the people a little more devious in their intentions, don’t bring that to the parks, don’t bring that to these families.”

The program for officers to work overtime begins this weekend and will run for 15 weeks. The new camera and lighting systems should be installed in the next few weeks, according to the Columbus Department of Public Safety.