Senate Passes Fuschillo Bill to Help Police Positively Identify Suspects

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

June 01, 2011

Legislation Would Allow Police Officers to Have Routine Access to an Individual’s Driver License Photo When Performing Their Duties 

            Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today announced that the New York State Senate passed legislation he sponsors to give police greater resources to positively identify suspects. The legislation would allow officers to have routine access to DMV driver license photo images when performing their duties.             

            “Police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our safety; we need to do everything we can to protect theirs. It makes no sense that officers do not have routine access to the most helpful tool in verifying a person’s identity; their photo. This legislation would ensure that officers have access to information which they need to do their jobs effectively and safely,” said Senator Fuschillo.  

Currently, police officers have digital access to an individual’s driving record, as well as the physical description listed on that person’s driver’s license (sex, height, eye color, and birth date) when they are in the field performing their duties. However, they do not have routine access to that individual’s driver license photo, eliminating a major resource which can help them verify someone’s identity. 

Senator Fuschillo’s legislation (S4070) would allow police officers to have routine access to driver’s license and learner’s permit photos when performing their duties in the field. 

"In this era of identity theft, this legislation would provide a very useful investigative tool for police officers while conducting investigations. Providing  immediate access to a computerized photo image would vastly reduce drivers  from impersonating innocent individuals and would greatly assist in charging the  proper person with an offense," said Peter Paterson, Legislative Chairman of the New York State Association of PBAs. 

“This legislation would allow detectives to access drivers license photos and have them readily available for investigations.  Having DMV photos available would be a valuable tool and great benefit in aiding detectives in exposing identity theft, which is a growing problem in our society today,” said Thomas R. Willdigg, President of the Nassau County Detectives’ Association. 

            The legislation has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.