As the largest police force in the country, the 50,000 selfless men and women who comprise the NYPD’s ranks have become synonymous with the bravery and honor we expect from officers across the United States. Whether in our city’s darkest moments or its best, their service has never wavered. They have always been there for us.
This year has been a record one for the NYPD, but this isn’t a record worth celebrating. The over 1,500 resignations and retirements from the force to date, marks a 38% increase from last year and largest annual exodus ever for the force.
And who can blame them? These brave men and women wake up every day to fulfill their oath to protect and serve, without the guarantee of making it home at night, only to be thrown under the bus by the elected officials who are sworn to represent them.
Give Bragg heave-ho
The first step to stop the exodus of New York’s Finest is firing liberal Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. His choice to not to prosecute or downgrade crimes across the board, including robbery, grand larceny and resisting arrest, have rotted the streets of the Big Apple, and lawless policies like these lead to officers and civilians getting injured and killed. Alvin Bragg seems to believe that “DA” stands for “Defense Attorney” and not “District Attorney.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul has the constitutional authority to fire DA Bragg on the spot, but she’s shown her unwillingness to do so, claiming we should just cut him slack. Absolutely not! On Day ONE as New York’s next governor next January, I will do what Hochul lacks the courage to do, and I will fire Alvin Bragg.
We must also repeal cashless bail and give judges discretion to weigh dangerousness, prior offenses, flight risk and more, instead of the current system of handcuffing justice by mandating the release of many criminals under cashless bail. We have created a revolving door of justice in this state and allow criminals to commit crimes and be home for dinner. We are incentivizing criminals to commit violent crimes and disincentivizing police to serve. How incredibly disheartening it must be to have the perpetrator you just arrested come and collect their belongings before you’re done filling out their paperwork.
Adding fuel to the fire are the new amendments to the discovery laws in New York state. These laws force prosecutors to present evidence to judges on relatively short timetables, and failure to do so could result in a complete dismissal of a case. These timelines are nearly impossible for prosecutors to do their jobs effectively and are in turn making our communities less safe.
Police ‘bill of rights’
Law enforcement has been defined in the new statutes as an extension of the prosecution. Law enforcement already has a lot on their plate, and now you’re going to force them to comply with these ridiculous timelines as well? This is not sustainable.
Not only are we making it harder for police officers to do their jobs, but New York is putting them in legal and physical danger as well. We have to stop the attacks on the basic, personal freedoms which every officer needs. For example, qualified immunity, which protects every officer from being sued personally, absolutely should not be taken away. Likewise, we must protect the personal information of each officer who puts a badge on every day. While we are at it, Albany should pass the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights I authored and introduced in Congress.
Growing up in a law-enforcement household and serving in the US Army, I have seen what it means to put your life on the line on a daily basis. The proud members of the NYPD, including New York’s next lieutenant governor and my running mate, Alison Esposito, share a love for our city, communities and people they serve, but in many cases the constant attacks on them leave them with no choice.
I unapologetically back the blue and will always fight to support our police, not for our criminals. Every law-enforcement officer in New York should know that when we take back our state this year, Albany will finally have their backs once again.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) is a Republican candidate for governor of New York.