Police Reform: Here’s What’s Changing in Policing in New York State
The New York State Legislature has passed 10 police reform bills. Here's what will be changing.
Repeal of 50-A of the Civil Rights Law
Now, police in New York State will no longer have their disciplinary records shielded from the public or media. The New York State Legislature repealed 50-A of the Civil Rights law by passing Senate Bill S.8496, according to WIVB. Section 50-A of the Civil Rights law had been on the books since the 1970s and had prevented members of a community or the media to see if an officer had any patterns of abuse or excessive force. The personal information of officers, such as their home addresses, personal phone numbers and families are still protected.
Another change was the passage of Senate Bill S.8493, which forces New York State Police to wear body cameras.
“This is going to be an important step in terms of regaining the trust of the public and making sure that both our police remain safe and our citizens have the kind of confidence that they should in their law enforcement agencies.” ~Senator Kevin Parker via WIVB
Senate Bill S.3253B allows a person who is not under arrest or in police custody to record the police, which has been crucial in exposing police abuse. Any person not arrested is legally allowed to maintain control of the recording and keep it in their possession, preventing unlawful police seizure, according to Syracuse.com. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Kevin Parker.
Investigating Police Misconduct
Senate Bill S.2574B, which was sponsored by Sen. Jamaal Bailey, will help prevent police departments accused of abuse from investigating themselves, or at least add a layer of investigatory oversight, according to Syracuse.com. The bill creates the Office of Special Investigation within the Department of Law, under the New York State Attorney General. This Office will have the power to investigate and prosecute, as needed, any deaths caused by police.
You can see the other bills that were passed here.