ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Members of the Senate Republican Conference introduced a dozen bills they say are aimed at safeguarding police officers and law-abiding citizens. They believe criminal justice reforms have gone too far, and put officers at risk.
“It’s not reform, it’s a dismantling of the criminal justice system that has kept people safe for a very long time,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt at a press conference Tuesday.
The package includes a bill that would strengthen the penalties for assaulting a police officer, and a bill that would enhance the penalty resisting arrest from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony.
Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett, also the President of the NYS Sheriffs’ Association, stood with Senate Republicans to call for the passage of these bills. He says the importance of strong public support for law enforcement and public trust can not be overstated.
“We go out and put our lives on the line every day, whether it’s crime, or the past year, dealing with COVID and being on the front lines,” Bartlett said. “It’s a tough job. We’re having a tough time retaining people, retirements are at an all time high. We’re having a tough time recruiting people.”
Another piece of legislation in the package would establish May 15th as Police Memorial Day, and would require the governor to appear in-person at a ceremony and read out loud the names of officers who died that year in the line of duty.
Bills included in the package:
- S2561 (Jordan), which would strengthen the penalties for assaulting a police officer.
- S3208 (Ortt), which would strengthen penalties for causing a police officer to come into contact with foreign substances or objects, such as bottles, flammable liquids, etc.
- S3463 (Gallivan), which would make it a crime to dox a police or peace officer simply because of their profession and with the intent to threaten or intimidate that police or peace officer.
- S3465 (Gallivan), which would make it a crime to falsely accuse a police or peace officer of wrongdoing in the performance of their duties. This is necessary because of the repeal of Section 50-A, and would protect law enforcement against unfounded or unsubstantiated claims.
- A proposal by Senator Alexis Weik to Defund Municipalities that Defund the Police Act. The Director of the Division of Budget would withhold state funding to a municipality that abolishes, disbands or significantly reduces its police department. The amount of state money withheld would correspond with the percentage reduction in a police department’s budget by the municipality.
- S2034 (Akshar) – Disability and Death Benefit – Provides a $500,000 benefit for police officers who are seriously disabled or die from injuries incurred in the line of duty.
- S2226 (Helming) – Stalking a Police/Peace Officer – Makes it a class E Felony to stalk a police or peace officer, and makes the crime of stalking a police or peace officer eligible for bail.
- S3464 (Gallivan) – Failure to Retreat – Makes it a class D Felony for any person to approach or remain within 25 feet of a police officer engaged in the performance of their duties when they are ordered by an officer and they fail to do so.
- S6231 (Lanza) – Resisting Arrest – Enhances the penalty resisting arrest from a class A misdemeanor to a class E Felony. Adds resisting arrest to the list of E Felonies where a police officer may arrest someone, instead of being required to issue an appearance ticket.
- S6285 (Serino) – Police Memorial Day – Establishes May 15th as Police Memorial Day in New York State. Requires the Governor to appear in person at the fitting ceremony at the Police Memorial Wall and to read, out loud, the names of the police officers who died during the previous year from injuries incurred in the line of duty.
- S6286 (Serino) – Unfounded and unsubstantiated complaints against first responders; This is necessary because of the repeal of Section 50-A, and would prohibit the disclosure of personnel records with regard to unsubstantiated or unfounded complaints made against first responders.