Lawmakers have proposed the Wandering Officers Act which will prohibit police officers from joining the force who have been fired in or out of state
New York is taking steps toward holding police officers accountable.
Lawmakers have proposed the Wandering Officers Act which will prohibit police officers from joining the force who have been fired in or out of state, as reported by ABC News.
“What this bill basically says is any cop that has been fired, either within state and within police jurisdiction, or from a police jurisdiction out of state, you can not be hired in New York state,” said the bill’s sponsor, New York State Sen. Brian Benjamin, to ABC New York station WABC.
The Police Benevolent Association does not oppose the bill.
The president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York Patrick Lynch told ABC News in a statement NYPD officers “aren’t interested in serving alongside a cop whose conduct got him fired someplace else.”
“In fact, this bill should apply to every public employee in the statement,” continued the police union. “But the bill sponsors should also make it clear that this is not a rampant problem with police officers in New York.”
Assembly Bill A7284 also bans hiring officers who resign while facing disciplinary action that could result in termination. Similar measures in Connecticut and Pennsylvania have passed. New Jersey’s version is pending. But despite the measure, New York civil rights and criminal defense attorney Joel Berger told WABC there is still work that needs to be done and this act will not fix all policing problems.
He suggests adjusting state law Section 891 to require an independent tribunal investigate police disciplinary cases instead of police departments.
“If the disciplinary body was truly objective, you would find a lot of folks who currently get … slapped on the wrist would actually be suspended for long periods of time or even fired,” said Berger.
Lawmakers in Washington are also busy working on police reform. California congresswoman Maxine Waters recently spoke about her stance on qualified immunity, per theGrio.
During an interview with The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart, Waters made it known that unlike some of her peers, she is not interested in removing qualified immunity from developing police reform legislation.
“I am not giving up on qualified immunity,” said Waters. “I do not want to send a message to anybody that I am willing to support legislation that does not have it in it. I think we have got to be tough, we have got to be consistent and understand that we have got to hold police officers accountable.”
Waters comments come after some Democratic lawmakers say they are willing to compromise the rule that protects officers from civil lawsuits in order to get the stalled police reform bill passed.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison recently appeared on the same show and said: “Don’t let the bill die over an item we can come back for later… if we can get everything except that [qualified immunity], then I say pass it.”