The Firemen's Association of the State of New York announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that prevents registered sex offenders from joining or remaining members of volunteer fire companies and volunteer ambulance companies.
FASNY has made this issue part of its proactive agenda for the year, and applauded the governor's action on this issue.
"Volunteer firefighters frequently interact with children and individuals who are in vulnerable situations. Our volunteer firefighters are trusted members of the communities they serve, and they require the legal tools necessary to ensure they maintain the integrity of their members and the well-earned trust of all those they interact with," said FASNY President James Burns. "This legislation protects the trust between the volunteer fire service and the public by prohibiting registered sex offenders from being members of volunteer fire companies and volunteer ambulance companies."
"The Firemen's Association of the State of New York applauds the governor for signing this bill, which will benefit all New Yorkers served by the volunteer first responders," Burns added. "On behalf of our state's 92,000 volunteer firefighters and our 1,800 local volunteer fire departments, I would like to thank the governor, as well as the co-sponsors of this bill, Sen. John Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther."
Under this legislation, an individual who is registered as a sex offender is not eligible for membership in a volunteer fire company or volunteer ambulance company. The law also provides for the termination of membership of any current volunteer who is found to be convicted of these offenses.
This legislation would allow volunteer fire chiefs to access existing public record information on registered sex offenders, in a similar fashion that an arson background check is currently required for all prospective members. This legislation is modeled after changes to an arson-searches law that was enacted in 1999, which has been effective in rooting out individuals convicted of arson crimes.
Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the more than 92,000 volunteer firefighters in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.