The Fulton County Board of Supervisors today unanimously passed a resolution in support of legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) to protect the privacy and safety of emergency first responders and their families from retaliation and potentially becoming crime victims under the controversial new bail/discovery portion of the law.
The bail/discovery reform law overhauled the discovery process to require an expedited timeline to provide police reports, radio transmissions, body-worn and dash-cam video, and witness names and contact information related to the prosecution of a crime to defendants within 15 days of arraignment.
Current law protects law enforcement personnel from the disclosure of name and contact information in this process to safeguard them and their families from threats and intimidation. However, the same protection was not extended to emergency first responders such as firefighters and EMS workers, who are often the first ones to provide life-saving services at emergency crime scenes. Tedisco noted that many volunteer firefighter and emergency first responder companies are already facing recruitment challenges and this law and the possibility that the first responders and their loved ones could become targets will just make it harder to recruit volunteers.
Tedisco’s legislation (S.7280) protects the privacy of all emergency first responders from having their personal information shared during discovery. Tedisco also is co-sponsoring legislation that holistically protects the privacy and safety of all witnesses (S.7133) and for a full repeal of the bail and discovery reform law (S.6849/A.8855).
“I want to thank the Fulton County Board of Supervisors for their leadership in being the first county in the state to unanimously say, we have an obligation as a government to protect all members of our community, including the people who safeguard the public and rescue citizens when danger arises,” said Senator Jim Tedisco. “Violent criminals and vicious gangs like MS-13 are known to not only intimidate witnesses but also to murder them and their loved ones. As we work to protect the safety and privacy of all witnesses and their families, we recognize that our emergency first responders are always there to treat anyone in need of care, including at crime scenes. We can’t allow open season on our heroic emergency service personnel and see them and their families victimized by predators who will take advantage of this new discovery reform law to threaten their lives and their family’s well-being.”