UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — Last week Congresswoman Claudia Tenney participated in a ride-along with the Utica Police Department (UPD) to talk with them about their biggest concerns and to give an update on her legislation, The Local Law Enforcement Protection Act (H.Res.283).
“It is a way to prevent qualified immunity from being eliminated,” Tenney explained. “The bill actually defunds and takes away some of the community block grant money to cities and municipalities who attempt to defund the police.”
The congresswoman spoke in front of officers during their roll call about her bill and the recent support it got from the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department, and the International Union of Police Associations. The bill safeguards qualified immunity for law enforcement officers. Qualified immunity is a defense that law enforcement and other government officials can raise in response to lawsuits seeking monetary damages for alleged civil rights violations. Tenney’s bill comes during a time where calls to defund the police and end their qualified immunity ring throughout the nation. Tenney said this was a big motivation behind going to the police department, to show her support for local law enforcement.
“So I wanted to see how policing has changed,” Tenney said. “How the laws have affected the police department the new laws from the bail reform, the criminal justice reform, and how that’s impacting law enforcement and impacting their job.”
During her ride-along and tour of the police station, Tenney asked the officers what their biggest concerns were, and what changes they would like to see.
“The biggest complaint that the police said was that the bail reform was a huge problem,” Tenney said. “It was a tool they had to deter crime, they also said they keep arresting the same people over and over and then often those crimes lead to even more crime and more serious crimes.”
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