Sheriff Schenck, Chief Butler push back against prospect of legislation being built into state budget

Law enforcement leaders around New York State are asking for Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to avoid major policy pieces in this year’s budget.

With our State and Nation in the throes of a devastating epidemic, New York’s Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police urge that this is not the appropriate time for the State Legislature to be enacting major policy changes that are unrelated to dealing with COVID-19, New York State Sheriff’s Association members said in a press release.

“We understand the need to get a budget in place soon, but it should not be a budget like last year’s last-minute passage crammed with big changes in public policy that are not truly budget-related”, said Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy, president of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association. “Adopting radical changes in public policy by pretending it is ‘budget-related’ is a sham, and never the right thing to do, but especially this year. Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police are incredibly busy and highly focused on the current crisis, as are most of our citizens. We cannot take the time to contact State lawmakers to argue our point of view on these issues.”

Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler echoed his own concerns in a statement on Monday.

“Utilizing the New York State budget process as a means to pass or amend controversial legislation is wrong, but doubly so during our current public health crisis,” he said. “The matters of bail and discovery reform deserve and demand an opportunity for the public as well as subject matter experts to be heard. These opportunities unfortunately were not afforded during the first passage of these bills and these missteps need to be corrected for future bill modifications.”

Meanwhile, Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck added that the budget process should remain simplified given what the state is currently dealing with. “Incorporating major policy changes into the state budget that have an impact on public safety, without giving opportunity for appropriate review, research, and debate, is wrong and dangerous. We have all seen this in the past and we cannot go down this road again,” he said.


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