Gov. Kathy Hochul recently stood in front of the Long Island Rail Road’s New Hyde Park station to celebrate the arrival of the first train on the LIRR’s much-needed Third Track.
In truth, she had little to do with this multi-billion-dollar project. It was the creation of her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, who used political threats and economic incentives to have his way with the various village mayors along the right-of-way who opposed modernization of Long Island’s “iron horse.”
But if I were Hochul, I would probably look for any photo opportunity that takes the focus off the issue that may decide whether I will stays in office after November: crime.
The headlines are unrelenting. Almost daily we hear of repeat felons being let loose thanks to legislation that essentially scrapped the ability of judges to hold dangerous repeat felons behind bars until their trials.
The painful impact on our communities is incalculable. Still, there is another metric that tells you something about the impact that legislation has had on those who have taken a solemn oath to protect our society.
According to published reports, more than 1,500 New York City police officers have either resigned or retired so far this year. If this trend continues, it may well be the biggest loss of officers since these kinds of statistics began to be recorded by the department.
Some 524 police officers had resigned, and 1,072 had retired as of the beginning of the summer — a 38 percent increase over the same period last year. We should be more than frightened, because these law enforcement professionals see the true nature of the threat on every patrol, and they have decided that our society isn’t prepared to back them up.
There are serious questions we need to ask our public officials this Election Day. We could ask State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. She led the crusade to dismantle the bail laws, and her progressive agenda remains unchanged as police blotters are filled with repeat felons attacking law-abiding citizens.
If asked, police officers handing in their badges will say they are done with the job because of anti-cop hostility that is a central philosophy of the progressives, and the obviously destructive nature of “bail reform” to the very idea of law enforcement.
This crisis isn’t just a New York City problem. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has issued a report stating that more than 87 percent of criminal suspects arrested in Nassau County in April and June were released back on the streets without bail. This number includes 282 who were facing violent assault charges.
Standing with Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, Blakeman revealed that in the second quarter of 2022, 2,641 of 3,019 people arrested — 87.5 percent — were released without bail. Some 282 of them faced assault charges, and 103 were arrested on weapons chargers. And then there’s the defendant some have described as a poster child of this crisis.
Tejinder Singh was arrested for allegedly throwing bricks through the windows or windshields of 27 cars parked in East Meadow during a three-day vandalism spree. He was released without bail just hours after his arrest.
Hochul is no political neophyte. While she has a massive political war chest and solid poll numbers, all of that can go south quickly if the summer of crime becomes the autumn of anger, especially on voter-rich Long Island.
When the governor spoke before the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual conference, she told her audience she would support and fully fund law enforcement. But what does that mean when the destruction of bail laws by Albany has led to an explosion of street crime?
Another seasoned politician, New York City mayor Eric Adams, has actually joined Republican lawmakers in demanding that the State Legislature address the crisis. Not surprisingly, the progressive-dominated Legislature declined Adams’s call for an emergency session. He told reporters, “We’re not talking about someone that steals an apple. We’re talking about someone that has repeatedly used violence in our city: robberies, grand larcenies, burglaries, shootings, carrying a gun.”
Hochul will not be alone on the ballot this November. Long Island state senators who voted with their progressive colleagues are going to be asked by voters why they “went along” on progressive legislation that is now destroying a fundamental principle of American life: freedom from fear.
Ronald J. Rosenberg has been an attorney for 42 years, concentrating in commercial litigation and transactions, and real estate, municipal, zoning and land use law. He founded the Garden City law firm Rosenberg Calica & Birney in 1999.