Combating Violence: The Takeaways From Tragedy

On September 3, we lost a hero in the line of duty when Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson was shot and killed while in pursuit of a suspect. The tragedy rocked the community and reminded us all of the courage our law-enforcement personnel exhibit every day.  We can never properly repay the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
But we can do something. Officer Pierson was shot by an individual with a violent past and wanted on a parole violation. In Albany, we have a responsibility to learn from this senseless tragedy and do everything in our power to make New York safer.
More than ever, we need to pass Brittany’s Law, a life-saving measure which has been repeatedly blocked by the Assembly Majority. Brittany’s Law would create a registry of violent felony offenders, similar to the sex offender registry created under Megan’s Law. Led by the hard work of Sen. Mike Nozzolio, the state Senate has passed it five times. But the Assembly Majority has irresponsibly refused to consider the measure.
Brittany’s Law is named after Brittany Passalacqua, a 12-year-old girl who was murdered in 2009 along with her mother, Helen Buchel, in Geneva, New York. The two were killed by John Edward Brown, who was on parole after serving time in prison for violently assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. Ms. Buchel was unaware of Brown’s violent criminal history. Had a registry of violent offenders been in place, this tragic crime, and hundreds of others across the state, could have been avoided.
The death of Officer Pierson reminds us that violent offenders who live among us pose a very real danger.  It is truly shocking to see how a vital public safety law can be ignored over and over again, even as it is clear the law will save lives. By giving communities the opportunity to be aware of violent offenders in their neighborhoods, near their schools, and on their streets, we will provide the highest standard of public safety.
Far too often, we read about a horrific crime committed by a violent offender. Let’s show New York that we’ve learned something from these terrible tragedies. Let’s make sure the legacies of innocent victims carry on in a safer New York.

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