Bill S7881-2013

Establishes the crimes of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first and second degrees

Establishes the crimes of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first and second degrees.

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  • Jun 16, 2014: REFERRED TO RULES

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BILL NUMBER:S7881

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the crimes of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first and second degrees

PURPOSE: To create the new crimes of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first and second degrees.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill adds a new § 120.26 to the penal law creating the crime of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the second degree. A person is guilty of this offense when, knowing that a building permit is required and with knowledge that such permit has not been obtained, he or she knowingly alters, converts, encloses, subdivides or partitions any building or structure in violation of the New York State uniform fire prevention and building code, or any other provision of general, special or local law, ordinance, administrative code, rule or regulation addressing standards for building construction and fire prevention and during such fire or other emergency evacuation such conduct creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional. Reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Section 2 adds a new § 120.27 to the penal law creating the crime of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first degree. A person is guilty of this offense when he or she commits reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the second degree and either: during such fire or other emergency evacuation such conduct creates a grave risk of death to a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional and such person sustains a physical injury; or he or she has previously been convicted within the past ten years of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first or second degree. Reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first degree is a class E felony.

Section 3 provides the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Building codes exist to ensure that residents, and particularly first responders and emergency personnel, are protected from the dangers posed by fire and inferior construction methods. While responding to any emergency is dangerous, this is particularly so when a building has been illegally altered, usually to make room for more occupants. Firefighters and other first responders are put at significant risk when they enter a structure anticipating a certain layout and instead must navigate around with walls that don't belong,

narrow passageways, blocked entrances or exits, or other structural changes, all while battling smoke and flames. Far too often, these situations result in serious injury to, or even the death of, firefighters or other emergency personnel.

This is exactly what happened on a January morning in 2005 in the Bronx, where an apartment fire turned into a deathtrap for several firefighters. Six New York City firefighters were forced to jump from a fourth-floor window after they were trapped in the apartment by illegally constructed walls. Sadly, two firefighters were killed and several more were severely injured. While the building's owner and former were initially convicted of criminally negligent homicide, these convictions were overturned by a judge who ruled there was no evidence that they knew the apartments had been illegally converted.

More recently, in 2011, firefighters in Haverstraw, Rockland County, entered a smoke-filled single-family home and were confronted with its illegal conversion to a rooming house. A disoriented volunteer firefighter was running out of air and had to issue a mayday call to his fellow firefighters, who had to use a thermal imaging device to locate him in the home. Thankfully, he was found in time. The owner of the home had been served with a code violation just two weeks prior to the fire.

Illegally altered or subdivided structures can have very serious consequences for the occupants of these structures and particularly the first responders who might be called there in an emergency. Our first responders provide an invaluable service in keeping us safe and assisting us in emergencies, and when an unscrupulous individual directly places their health and safety at risk for the sake of their own profits they should be held accountable in the event that their illegal conduct results in injury or death to a firefighter or other emergency services personnel

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7881 IN SENATE June 16, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. CARLUCCI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the crimes of reckless endangerment of a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional in the first and second degrees THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 120.26 to read as follows: S 120.26 RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIRE- FIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE SECOND DEGREE. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE SECOND DEGREE WHEN, KNOWING THAT A BUILDING PERMIT IS REQUIRED AND WITH KNOWLEDGE THAT SUCH PERMIT HAS NOT BEEN OBTAINED, HE OR SHE KNOWINGLY ALTERS, CONVERTS, ENCLOSES, SUBDIVIDES OR PARTITIONS ANY BUILDING OR STRUCTURE IN VIOLATION OF THE NEW YORK STATE UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE OR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF GENERAL, SPECIAL OR LOCAL LAW, ORDINANCE, ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, RULE OR REGULATION ADDRESSING STANDARDS FOR BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND FIRE PREVENTION AND DURING SUCH FIRE OR OTHER EMERGENCY EVACUATION SUCH CONDUCT CREATES A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY TO A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL. RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE SECOND DEGREE IS A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR. S 2. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 120.27 to read as follows: S 120.27 RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIRE- FIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
A PERSON IS GUILTY OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE FIRST DEGREE WHEN HE OR SHE COMMITS THE CRIME OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE SECOND DEGREE AND: 1. DURING SUCH FIRE OR OTHER EMERGENCY EVACUATION SUCH CONDUCT CREATES A GRAVE RISK OF DEATH TO A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL AND SUCH PERSON SUSTAINS A PHYS- ICAL INJURY; OR 2. HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN CONVICTED WITHIN THE LAST TEN YEARS OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGEN- CY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE FIRST OR SECOND DEGREE. RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF A PEACE OFFICER, POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROFESSIONAL IN THE FIRST DEGREE IS A CLASS E FELONY. S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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