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NYS: Major increase in 'Red Flag Law' usage by law enforcement statewide


Fri, Aug 12th 2022 03:10 pm

Hochul: Keeping New Yorkers protected from gun violence caused by individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others

√ NYS: Substantially more Red Flag applications filed in last three months than all of 2021; State Police: More than 93% increase

√ State will offer new training in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced a “major increase” in applications for extreme risk protection orders under New York's “Red Flag Law” – with “substantially more ERPOs filed in the last three months than in all of 2021.”

Hochul’s team said, “The increase comes after Gov. Hochul took decisive action in the wake of the mass shooting in Buffalo, issuing an executive order requiring State Police to expand their use of the Red Flag Law, and working with the Legislature to pass a new law requiring all law enforcement agencies in New York to increase the use of these potentially life-saving orders.

Hochul made the announcement in Suffolk County, where the sheriff's office is reporting a more than 75% increase in utilization of the Red Flag Law over the past three months.

"My top priority as governor is to keep New Yorkers safe," Hochul said. "In the wake of the horrific shooting in my hometown of Buffalo, we took quick and decisive action to get illegal guns off our streets and away from individuals who would use them to harm themselves or others. Now, we see our efforts are working, thanks to the heroic efforts of our partners in law enforcement who are on the front lines in the fight to protect public safety and end the scourge of gun violence."

On May 18, four days after the Buffalo shooting, Hochul issued an executive order directing the State Police to apply for an ERPO when there is probable cause that someone posed a danger to themselves or others. On July 6, a new state law signed by the governor took effect, expanding that order to all law enforcement agencies and district attorneys. The law also added to the list of those who can file orders.

A total of 832 temporary and final ERPOs have been issued in New York state in the past three months (May-August), compared to the 1,424 issued from August 2019 to April 2022.

State Police have filed 184 red flag applications since Hochul signed executive order 19 on May 18, a more than 93% increase over the 95 orders filed by State Police in all of 2021.

State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "We remain focused on reducing gun violence, and we appreciate the governor's support in providing the resources necessary for our members to accomplish this mission. The Red Flag Law gives law enforcement, family members, school administrators, teachers and mental health professionals the ability to step in and prevent violence before it occurs. The State Police encourages the public to remain observant of suspicious activities in their schools or communities. By reporting relevant information, we can all help prevent tragedies from occurring."

Hochul is also announcing that, under a partnership between the Division of Criminal Justice Services and Everytown for Gun Safety, the state is offering a free training webinar for law enforcement titled "Extreme Risk Protection Orders – Overview for Law Enforcement." The training, which has been offered to all law enforcement agencies in New York, will be held Aug. 24. It will cover identifying extreme risk behavior, how to file, execute, and extend an ERPO.

Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, "All too often in the aftermath of mass shootings, we learn about 'red flags,' patterns of troubling or threatening behavior that went unnoticed, dismissed or otherwise not taken seriously. I applaud Gov. Hochul's actions to strengthen the extreme risk protection order law, and my agency is proud to partner with Everytown to provide law enforcement agencies with training to help them use these orders as another 'tool in their toolbox' to keep their communities safe."

Everytown for Gun Safety Senior Director of State Government Affairs Monisha Henley said, "Red Flag laws are a bedrock gun safety policy that keeps guns out of the hands of individuals in crisis, keeps loved ones and family safe, and protects communities across New York state. We are grateful to Gov. Hochul for her continued partnership, and we look forward to continuing to support the state's ongoing efforts to ensure these laws are effectively implemented."

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