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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Rep. Katko introduces legislation countering anti-police attitudes

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U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) announced Monday that he has introduced legislation to strengthen public safety and counter anti-police sentiment.

The Stop Enabling Repeat Violence and Endangering (SERVE) Our Communities Act would provide incentives for states to adopt policies that would hold repeat offenders accountable and bolster public safety.

“Sadly, our community has grown too familiar with the consequences of Albany’s reckless bail reform laws and attacks on law enforcement. And, Washington Democrats want to bring these policies to the federal level,” Katko said. “Repeat offenders have been emboldened to freely terrorize our community. This horrifying trend has to end, and it is time to push back on dangerous trends at the state and federal level that threaten to jeopardize public safety. With the SERVE Our Communities Act, I’m aiming to provide a strong incentive for New York State to adopt sensible policies that support law enforcement and provide prosecutors with the necessary tools to keep violent criminals behind bars.”

The bill comes in response to an incident in New York where a repeat offender, Victoria Afet, allegedly killed 93-year-old Connie Tuori after the Syracuse City Court denied prosecutors’ request to hold Afet on bail pending trial on other charges of biting and robbing another elderly woman.

The SERVE Our Communities Act would authorize $10 million in anti-recidivism grant funding from the Department of Justice for states with laws that direct the courts to consider dangerousness when determining bail or pretrial release. Those same states can use the money to hire and retain law enforcement or create and implement public awareness campaigns to combat anti-police sentiment and improve community-police relations.

“I fully support the “SERVE Our Communities Act,” said Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick. “As violent crime soars in communities across our nation, it is becoming clear that we need Federal leadership to counteract state and local legislation and policy which have dismantled our criminal justice system in the name of ‘reform.’”

Co-sponsors of the bill include U.S. Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Tom Reed R-NY), and Chris Jacobs (R-NY). The legislation is endorsed by the National District Attorneys Association, Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, and Major Cities Chiefs Association.