Relates to including members of the fire investigation unit of any city fire department as peace officers.
Ayes (55): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, McDonald, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Storobin, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (5): Dilan, Duane, Montgomery, Perkins, Rivera
Excused (2): Huntley, Krueger
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to including members of the fire investigation unit of any city fire department as peace officers
PURPOSE: To improve the ability of cities to investigate and solve arson crimes.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Amends Subdivision 51 of Section 2.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law to allow officers and members of a fire investigation division of a city fire department to be designated as peace officers.
EXISTING LAW: Section 2.10(51) of the Criminal Procedure Law currently designates officers and members of the fire investigation divisions of the cities of Rochester, Binghamton and Utica as peace officers. Subdivisions 28, 44 and 75 provide similar designation for the cities of New York and Buffalo. Subdivision 79 designates members of the arson investigation bureau and fire inspection bureau of the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control as peace officers.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill will help cities throughout New York State combat the problem of arson. By allowing cities to designate certain fire personnel as peace officers, this legislation will enable cities to utilize the expertise and skills of fire department investigators to address this dangerous crime.
Peace officer designation will provide these personnel with valuable powers that will greatly assist in the investigation of arson, such as the necessary legal authority to secure evidence, interview and take statements from witnesses, obtain relevant insurance records and financial information, and assist in criminal prosecutions.
The Legislature has previously granted peace officer status to fire department investigators in some specific cities. However, over the past couple of years, these types of local peace officer requests -- covering a variety of purposes and personnel -- have been vetoed by the Executive. Instead, the Governor has expressed a preference for extending such powers, where appropriate, to specific categories of employees on a statewide basis, rather than on a municipal by municipal case.
This bill takes such an approach and would generally authorize all cities to determine whether to designate certain fire department personnel as peace officers. The bill recognizes that cities face particular needs and challenges. Properties in cities are frequently the target of arson, and urban police forces face numerous demands and have limited resources to devote to these types of cases. However, cities do have
professional firefighter departments that can help investigate and solve these crimes. Fire department investigators have extensive experience with fire and can greatly contribute to addressing the problem of arson.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6916 IN SENATE April 11, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. FARLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to including members of the fire investigation unit of any city fire department as peace officers THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 51 of section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law, as amended by chapter 294 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows: 51. Officers and members of the fire investigation division of
[the]A CITY fire department [of the city of Rochester, the city of Binghamton and the city of Utica,]when acting pursuant to their special duties in matters arising under the laws relating to fires, the extinguishment thereof and fire perils; provided, however, that nothing in this subdi- vision shall be deemed to authorize such officer to carry, possess, repair or dispose of a firearm unless the appropriate license therefor has been issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14504-01-2