State Senator Patty Ritchie is calling for the passage of a measure that would close a loophole responsible for allowing the personal information of first responders called to crime scenes to be made available to accused criminals.
Included in the package of criminal justice bills that went into effect on January 1st were changes to the discovery process, which require an expedited timeline to provide police reports, radio transmissions, body-worn and dash-cam videos, witness names and contact information related to the prosecution of a crime to defendants within 15 days of the defendant’s arraignment.
While the law protects law enforcement officials from the disclosure of their name and contact information, that same protection is not extended to emergency responders—such as firefighters and EMS workers—who are oftentimes called upon to provide services at crime scenes.
Under legislation cosponsored by Senator Ritchie (S.7280, sponsored by Senator James Tedisco), the personal information of all emergency first responders would be protected during the discovery process.
“When firefighters, EMS workers and other emergency responders arrive at a crime scene, they do so in an attempt to help people and offer any assistance they can to restore safety as soon as possible,” said Senator Ritchie.
“They should not have their names, addresses and contact information openly provided to someone accused of the crime they are responding to. It opens them, and their loved ones, up to the possibility of harassment, threats and even retaliation. It’s only common sense that these individuals are protected.”
This bill comes on the heels of a number of laws passed by downstate Democrats that place the rights of those charged with crimes ahead of the law-abiding citizens of New York State.
Just recently, Senator Ritchie joined with Senators Betty Little and Joe Griffo to launch a petition calling on Albany to fix its new, broken bail laws. You can sign the petition by visiting Senator Ritchie’s website at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.
Patricia A. Ritchie is a Republican member of the New York State Senate, representing the 48th district. She was first elected in 2011. The district encompasses portions of the North Country abutting Lake Ontario.