Assemblyman Smullen: National Police Week a Reminder to Back the Blue Year Round

Ever wonder what it would be like to come into work each day not knowing what’s ahead — to have uncertainty, danger and whiplash around every turn? Thus was the situation in Buffalo earlier this week and thus is the task of our law enforcement officers and first responders who demonstrate heroics in times of crisis day in and day out.

At a moment’s notice, a run-of-the-mill Tuesday turns into a high-speed car chase, a life-saving situation with someone who has overdosed or domestic violence intervention for many on the front lines of public safety. The perils of each are obvious but all are the responsibility of our men and women in blue.

National Police Week is here and is a stark reminder of the heavy burden law enforcement faces each day to keep us all safe. Whether it’s our local town or city police force, county sheriff, state troopers, or federal units like the Drug Enforcement Agency or Border Patrol, each plays an indispensable role in our public safety apparatus and national security.

But our gratitude shouldn’t be limited to just this week or this month. In the face of anti-police rhetoric and protests, and ‘defund the police’ movements erupting all over the country, including here in New York, it’s more important than ever to back the thin blue line year-round.

With the shocking rise in violent crime recently, the last thing we should be doing is diverting funding from public safety. The lack of law and order across America has empowered criminals and lawlessness and exacerbated impoverished communities. Our families and businesses deserve to feel safe anywhere they call home and cutting our police force will only diminish opportunities in these areas and drive out small businesses.

One small step we can take as lawmakers is to increase penalties for assaulting a police officer, making it a class A Felony (A.6575) for those who cowardly attack our police during their duties.

Additionally, establishing the crime of menacing a police officer as a felony (A.6578) would help deter the shameless behavior we’ve seen in recent years like dumping water over officers while on duty.

Both are reprehensible and both should face severe consequences.

Regrettably, Assembly Majority shamelessly voted down both of these bills. It’s obvious that placating the radical wing of their party is more important than public safety.

As law enforcement and a return to public safety face more challenges and criticism than ever before, we will continue to stand tall and always back the blue.