Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember N. Nick Perry today announced the Assembly passed legislation that would that require law enforcement officers that discharge their weapon in circumstances where a person could be struck by a bullet from a weapon must promptly report the incident (A.927-A, Perry).
"This bill is an important part of ensuring accountability within our criminal justice system," Speaker Heastie said. "This package of legislation is meant to even the scales of justice in our state. Ensuring that officers report the firing of a weapon is necessary for the public’s trust and the integrity of police procedures."
"It was shocking to me to learn that police unaccountability in our system went as far as not requiring officers to report when they shoot their gun. The idea that an officer could fire their weapon, potentially hit someone and not have that reported immediately is unconscionable," Assemblymember Perry said. "This bill will create new and much needed accountability within our criminal justice system."
Under current statutes, law enforcement officers are not required to report the discharge of a weapon, even in circumstances where a person may have been struck. This legislation would change that, requiring that police and peace officers, whether on or off duty, verbally report discharge of a firearm where a person could have been struck within six hours of the incident, followed by a written report within 48 hours. This change will aid in upholding the professional dignity of our police officers, in addition to saving state resources. This bill seeks to keep the bond between police officers and the community intact.
In 2007, Jayson Tirado, a civilian, was shot and killed by an off duty police officer who did not report the incident for approximately 20 hours. During those 20 hours, police searched several neighborhoods looking for the shooter, delaying justice and unnecessarily expending public resources.