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Sheriffs across NYS call for legislative change, additional protections as push against law enforcement grows

Law enforcement agencies across New York are asking for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s support, as he calls for major changes to the way policing happens across the state.

A number of legislative proposals aimed at protecting law-enforcement personnel and the public they serve were presented by sheriff’s from around New York. These proposals were the result of weeks of conversations among sheriffs about the recent confrontations between police and the public across the U.S., the sheriffs said in a press release.

A press conference was planned for Ontario County on Wednesday.

“Officers are trained in de-escalation, but that requires cooperation on both sides,” noted State Sheriffs’ Association President Jeffrey Murphy, Washington County Sheriff. “An officer’s split-second reaction to a perceived threat perhaps may later be thought all wrong. There is a time and place to question an officer’s actions, but not in the middle of the street when the officer is under pressure to control a situation on behalf of the public’s safety.”

Two of the ten legislative proposals presented include increasing the felony level for those who resist arrest and for those who fail to retreat or halt when ordered by a police officer. Another six proposals address related crimes against officers such as assault, aggravated harassment, criminal doxing and stalking of officers.

The sheriffs are also encouring the legislature to recognize and highlight the work done by law enforcement personnel by passing a $500,000 disability and death benefit and designating May 15th of each year as a state holiday – Police Memorial Day – to honor the more than 1,500 officers who have died in the line of duty.

“We call upon the legislature and Governor to enact these proposals in recognition of the sad fact that, in the performance of their difficult and dangerous work, too many of police officers lose their lives,” Murphy added.

Other press events are slated for Albany, Oneida, Broome, and Niagara counties.