(Buffalo, NY) – New York State Senator Chris Jacobs has introduced legislation to combat last week’s incidents of people drenching police officers with water in New York City. Jacobs’ legislation, S6641, would make it a Class E felony to throw or spray water, or any other substance, on an on-duty police or peace officer. Such an attack would be punishable by up to 1 to 4 years in prison.
“I have seen in Albany a growing disrespect and lack of appreciation from legislators for members of law enforcement,” said Jacobs. “If our elected leaders are not showing respect for law enforcement, the people they represent will soon follow, and we’re now seeing the negative consequences of that,” he added.
Jacobs said that social media and the manner and speed in which incidents like this can go viral contribute to copy-cat scenarios and circumstances where lawbreakers and unstable people are encouraged to try and “one-up” the last guy. He hopes that establishing laws that will make dangerous and disrespectful escapades like those that occurred in New York City a criminal offense, will act as a deterrent and send a message to society about the importance of respecting law enforcement officers and not interfering with the carrying out of their official duties.
“Right now, it’s water, next it could be something far more serious,” said Jacobs. “We need to show our law enforcement personnel that they have our support while they are putting their lives on the line every day, and we need to send a message that citizens are expected to show respect to the people protecting them. If tougher laws are required to do that, then so be it,” the Senator concluded.
There is support for this effort in both houses, as Jacobs’ bill is modeled bill after legislation recently offered in the Assembly by Assemblyman Mike LiPetri from Long Island.