Senator Akshar noticed that crimes against police and other emergency service workers increased in the U.S.:
“Despite living in a time when crimes specifically targeting first-responders are on the rise, thousands of brave men and women across the state voluntarily put their uniforms on every day to protect and serve our communities. The passage of stiffer penalties will not single-handedly protect all of our emergency service workers but we must make it clear that targeted offenses against our Community Heroes will not be taken lightly. We will not be silent while you are selfless.”
The new measure was inspired by the recent rise in killings of law enforcement in 2016. Many uniformed lives were killed simply because cops have been shown in bad light by the mainstream media, #blacklivesmatter, and on social media. A study found 135 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year, which is the highest since 2011. Out of the 135 killings, 21 were ambush-style killings – the highest in more than two decades.
The Community Heroes Protection Act will charge hate crime offenses committed against Police, EMTs, Firefighters, and other emergency first responders if the person or group of people intentionally target these workers based on their profile career.
In current law, when a person is convicted of a hate crime and the specified offense is a misdemeanor or a class C, D or E felony, the hate crime shall be deemed to be one category higher than the specified offense or one category higher than the offense level applicable to the defendant’s conviction. Police officers and first responders are not included as victims in the current definition of a hate crime.
Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), a cosponsor of the bill, said,
“As an active volunteer firefighter and former EMT, I know first-hand how hard our law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel work to protect our communities every day. With the staggering increase of targeted attacks on our law enforcement and emergency personnel, this crucial piece of legislation shows our steadfast support for our first responders and that we’ll do everything we can to protect them.”
The bill’s passage yesterday was in lieu with the annual Police Officers Memorial Ceremony to recognize police officers of New York State who died in the line of duty. Forty new names were added to the New York State Police Officers Memorial’s Roll of Honor this year.
In addition, the Senate passed a measure (S1980), sponsored by Senator Gallivan, that would create a State Trooper Highway Memorial Task Force to provide for the recognition of state police who have died in the line of duty.