(WETM) – Lawmakers in Albany are considering new legislation that would designate crimes specifically targeting police and correction officers, parole and other law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel as hate crimes
The Community Heroes Protection Act, which is currently in committee in both the Senate and Assembly and has bipartisan support in the Legislature.
“We need to stand strong behind the brave men and women putting their lives on the line day in and day out, night after night, protecting our communities and neighborhoods,” said State Senator Tom O’Mara, who is co-sponsoring the bill. “They are doing their jobs in an increasingly dangerous, hostile and, far too often, deadly environment where they are being targeted for violence simply because of the uniform they wear.”
O’Mara says the offenses would be designated as hate crimes if they were intentionally aimed at first responders based on the profile of their career.
Under current law, when a person is convicted of a hate crime and the specified offense is a misdemeanor or a class C, D or E felony, the hate crime shall be deemed to be one category higher than the specified offense or one category higher than the offense level applicable to the defendant`s conviction.