RENSSELAER COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Rensselaer County Legislature has introduced a new local law aimed at protecting first responders from harassment, threatening behavior, or obstruction while they perform their official duties. If the new law is adopted, people caught harassing first responders could be jailed for up to 15 days or face a $1,000 fine.
The local law was proposed after protests in the region led to police officers and other first responders being threatened and obstructed while performing their duties.
In a statement, the Rensselaer County Legislature claim protesters in Albany stopped a Sand Lake for 16 minutes while a patient was on board.
“Blocking roads, and preventing first responders from doing their work, creates a serious public safety risk. Our volunteer and professional personnel deserve all of the protection we can give them while they perform their duties”Todd Tesman- Johnsonville
Chair of the Public Safety Committee
The Local Law passed 17-2 with Minority Legislators Mark Fleming and Peter Grimm in opposition.
The law will now head to the County Executive for his signature after a public hearing is held. County Executive Steve McLaughlin has already expressed his support for the law.
“Our first responders provide needed and life-saving service for the community. It is unconscionable that first responders be blocked from saving lives or providing needed help. This law will send a very clear and strong message that our first responders deserve support and full cooperation as they carry out their duties”Steve McLaughlin
Rensselaer County Executive