Police Week Reminds Us What’s On The Line For Law Enforcement

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Each May, we celebrate and offer our thanks to the incredibly brave men and women of our law enforcement community. During National Police Week, which was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, we also reflect on the enormous sacrifice made by those who gave their lives for their community.

Too often, the brave professionals who put their lives on the line are taken for granted. They are the first and best line of protection between us and those who mean to harm us. For that, we owe them and their supportive families a debt of gratitude that simply cannot be repaid. The Assembly Minority Conference continues to advocate for the law enforcement community, and our members have fought hard for common-sense measures to protect those who protect us. Some of our proposals include:

  • Making life imprisonment without parole mandatory for defendants convicted of murder in the first or second degree if the victim is a police officer, specified peace officer, first responder or correctional officer (A.7472, Angelino/S.408, Gallivan).
  • Designating offenses against law enforcement, emergency medical services personnel and/or firefighters as hate crimes, thereby increasing the penalty for the offense (A.3417, DeStefano/S.6091, Murray).
  • Allowing judges to consider the safety of any person or the community when selecting a securing order on a criminal suspect and requiring the court to make individualized determinations as to whether a suspect poses a risk to any person or the community (A.9708, Reilly).
  • Reinstating the death penalty in New York state and making it an available sentence for those convicted for the intentional killing of police officers, specified peace officers and first responders, among others (A.3906, Barclay/S.1271, Ortt).

Additionally, I would like to take a moment during this weeklong celebration to acknowledge the 214th graduating class of the New York State Police Academy. This year, 228 new troopers completed the requirements to join the proud ranks of the long gray line. Your hard work, training and dedication to protecting New Yorkers does not go unnoticed. I wish you my sincerest congratulations and safety on this journey.

The law enforcement community does incredible work. Whether they are engaging with their communities, patrolling dangerous neighborhoods or training the next generation of first responders, we need them supported, well-funded and feeling appreciated. I will always stand up for the men and women of law enforcement, and I encourage everyone to recognize those who protect and serve us during this important week.