Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today announced that the New York State Senate has approved legislation he sponsors to create stronger penalties for criminals who impersonate police officers in order to commit crime.
“We are taught to trust and obey police officers because they are there to protect our safety. Criminals have tried to capitalize on this trust to lure their victims and commit their crimes more easily. Law enforcement needs stronger tools to put these individuals behind bars. That’s exactly what this legislation gives them,” said Senator Fuschillo.
The legislation (S5241) would create a new crime of committing an offense while impersonating a police officer or peace officer. In most cases, the penalty for this new charge would be one level higher than the penalty for the underlying crime committed by the offender. As an example, a criminal who committed a class D felony robbery (punishable by up to seven years in prison) would face class C felony charges (punishable by up to 15 years in prison) if they impersonated a police officer while committing the robbery.
Criminals, including rapists and robbers, have posed as police officers in order to gain the trust and compliance of their victims. In one case earlier this year, a Long Island man stopped a twenty year old man in a convenience store parking lot, told him he was a police officer, and ordered him to put his hands on his car. He then proceeded to rob the victim.
The legislation has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.