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New York Sheriffs: End open season on police officers

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Syracuse area county sheriff’s gather in wake of recent police killings

From the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office,

Sheriff Craig DuMond, pictured above, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, today issued a call for state lawmakers to focus on ending New York’s open season on police officers

“End the open season on law enforcement,” stated Sheriff DuMond, who is also the elected Sheriff of Delaware County. “Our families beg this of you. Our communities across this state deserve nothing less.”

Joined by the Sheriffs of Albany, Oneida, Warren, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, and Cortland Counties, Sheriff DuMond pointed to a wave of vicious attacks that have cut short the lives of four police officers since last month.

Those killed in the line of duty include: Onondaga County Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Hoosock; Syracuse Police Officer Michael Jensen; New York City Police Officer Jonathan Diller and Genesee County Sheriff’s Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello.

Sheriff DuMond also cited last week’s ambush attack on Albany Police Officer Jonathan Damphier, now undergoing treatment after being gunned down only about one mile from the state Capitol.

In addition, Chemung County Sheriff’s Investigator Mike Theetge remains hospitalized after suffering a fractured skull and brain bleeds after being attacked while working a retail theft detail.

“All of these attacks grew out of the officers’ efforts to safeguard New Yorkers,” stated Sheriff DuMond. “They are heroes in every sense of the word.”

Specifically, Sheriff DuMond called for mandatory life without parole sentences for individuals convicted of intentionally killing a police officer.

Speaking on behalf of the NYS Sheriffs’ Association, Sheriff DuMond also voiced his support for an Assembly measure that would make all gun crimes qualifying offenses for denying release.

He also urged lawmakers to revisit the changes they made to bail statutes and the age of criminal responsibility (“Raise the Age”).

“To restore balance to our approach to criminal justice, start by creating a dangerousness standard that allows Judges to determine whether a defendant is qualified for bail or not,” Sheriff DuMond said. “Allow our Judges to be Judges.”

As for new legislation creating a low-level felony offense for assaulting a retail shop worker, Sheriff DuMond pointed out the measure fails to make that crime a bail-eligible offense. “The revolving door will continue,” he said. “Sadly, we missed an opportunity to send the appropriate message to the dangerous criminals of these organized shoplifting gangs.”

State lawmakers are now in recess, slated to return to Albany May 6 for the post-budget session.

Sheriff DuMond and other police executives are urging them to take into consideration the voices of the law enforcement community as they debate public safety measures.

“We need the Legislature to have our backs,” Sheriff DuMond said. “We ask of you to do what you can do to get these targets off our backs.”

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