Ortt, Senate GOP push package of pro-police legislation

Posted 12 May 2021 at 7:40 am

Press Release, Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt

ALBANY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and members of the Senate Republican Conference on Tuesday unveiled a package to protect and honor members of law enforcement all across New York, and safeguard law-abiding New Yorkers against the disastrous results of One-Party Rule’s criminal justice “reforms.”

Rob Ortt

“Since 2019, it’s been clear to most New Yorkers that the scales of justice in our state have tipped heavily in favor of violent criminals – and at the expense of our courageous law enforcement, as well as the men and women they are sworn to protect and serve,” Ortt said. “Bail reform has been a disaster. Our police are under constant attack. Murders and other violent crimes in many of our big cities have gone through the roof. It is time to halt this madness and get back to the basics of public safety, and that begins with protecting those who protect us. I’m proud to stand beside my colleagues in support of the first of our initiatives to restore common-sense and public safety in New York.”

Keynotes of the legislative package to “Protect Those Who Protect Us” in New York include:

  • 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.

In New York City, violent crime has risen at an alarming rate over the past year, with the most recent report by the NYPD showing that overall index crime rose by 30.4 percent compared to April 2020. This rapid increase in crime was driven in part by a 35.6 percent increase in felony assault, a 28.6 percent increase in robbery, and a 166.1 percent increase in shooting incidents.

According to a recent State of Safety in America report by Safewise, New York is the “most worried about safety” state in the nation, with 70 percent of New Yorkers reporting that they are “concerned daily” about their safety. In addition, only 40 percent of New Yorkers feel safe in their everyday lives, while 78 percent think crime is increasing.

These alarming statistics follow the implementation of Democrat bail reform and discovery reform since 2019, as well as the disbanding of the NYPD’s “anti-crime” unit and $1 billion cut to New York City police funding.

The legislative package also includes:

  • S1917 (Akshar) – Hate Crime against a Police Officer – Makes a crime committed against a police officer because of their status as a police officer, a hate crime.
  • 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.

“Too often police officers come under attack simply because they wear a badge and a uniform. Such disregard for law enforcement shows disregard for the rule of law necessary in a civilized society,” said Senator Patrick M. Gallivan of Elma. “We need to do more to support and protect the men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping our fellow citizens safe. This legislation will help to do that. As a former Trooper and Sheriff of Erie County, I know the vast majority of officers care about the communities they serve and the rights of all law abiding citizens. They deserve our support and our appreciation, today and every day.”