UTICA, N.Y. – Sen. Joe Griffo is pushing to better protect the personal information of emergency responders, firefighters and crime witnesses.
Under the new bail reform, names and addresses of EMS workers, first responders and witnesses are released and made public.
Griffo says this can be dangerous and lead to potential intimidation from suspects if they obtain this personal information during an crime investigation.
The new legislation would require that witnesses let police know if they are comfortable with the release of their personal information or whether they are concerned for their safety. A justification must be provided to law enforcement and is subject to review by a judge.
"Think about this: if you have kids, and you were driving home, getting your kids on the bus and this person is in your driveway. Today's day and age, you've just got to be a little safer and this is just one safe way of protecting us like we protect the public," said Maynard Fire Chief Jared Pearl.
Griffo also discussed the Emergency First Responders Privacy and Protection Act, which he is supporting in the Senate.
Law enforcement personnel are protected from having personal information released, but those privacy laws do not currently apply to first responders. Griffo says the first responders are just as susceptible to retaliation and should be extended the same protections.
“These bills will help to ensure that the names and contact information of witnesses and emergency personnel are protected and that they and their loved ones are not susceptible to retaliatory actions by those accused of committing crimes or their associates,” said Griffo.
Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon joined Griffo for the press conference to show her support for the legislation.
The bill has not yet reached the Senate or Assembly for a vote.