CONTE: EXPAND DNA DATABANK, ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY
Last year, shots were fired so close to my home that it woke my wife and me from a sound sleep. This incident was a stark reminder of the public safety challenges facing our communities and the men and women of our local law-enforcement agencies who are tasked with keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe.
To enhance the safety of our communities, it is my job as your assemblyman to enact policies on the state level that provide our local law-enforcement personnel and prosecutors with the tools they need to fight crime and that help put criminals behind bars.
That’s why I am urging my Assembly colleagues to follow the state Senate’s lead and expand New York’s DNA databank.
In 1994, I helped to create the first DNA databank; since that time, DNA evidence has helped prosecutors solve more than 2,700 crimes and has exonerated 27 New Yorkers.
Now it is the duty of the “People’s House” to enhance this vital tool to help make our streets and neighborhoods safer for families and help to ensure that people are not wrongly convicted for crimes they did not commit.
The expanded DNA databank will require DNA samples to be collected from anyone convicted of all remaining Penal Law misdemeanors and any felony under other state laws, such as felony driving while intoxicated under the Vehicle and Traffic Law, aggravated animal cruelty under the Agriculture and Markets Law and prescription-drug offenses under the Public Health Law.
By expanding the DNA databank, we will give law-enforcement officials and prosecutors enhanced and needed access to a proven crime-fighting tool while helping to exonerate those convicted of crimes they did not commit.
I applaud Governor Cuomo for proposing the expansion of the DNA databank in his Executive Budget and I commend the state Senate for passing this legislation. Now, the Assembly must act to pass this important public safety measure.
New York State Assembly
10th District (Nassau & Suffolk counties)