Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Protecting More Public Workers from On-The-Job Assault

New Provisions will Better Protect School Crossing Guards and New York City Housing Authority Employees.

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Albany, NY - August 4, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to better protect two types of public employees from assault while on the job, offering them similar protections to that of police officers, firefighters and others. Now, school crossing guards as well as employees of the New York City Housing Authority will benefit from similar, more enhanced protections and penalties.

“This critically important legislation will better protect hardworking employees who are charged with keeping children and families safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “I thank the bills’ sponsors for their work in making these new protections a reality.”

Assaults on New York City Housing Authority employees are not uncommon, and under this legislation, any attack resulting in physical injury on an employee while performing duties at an Authority-owned or operated housing project will now be elevated from a misdemeanor to a violent felony.

School crossing guards, whose primary goal is to protect the safety of schoolchildren, frequently receive verbal and physical threats that often go unreported. As with City Housing Authority employees, the current law will be amended to provide that any assault on a school crossing guard resulting in physical injury while performing his or her duties will now be raised to a violent felony.

Senator Andrew Lanza said, “Unfortunately, there has been a recent spike in the number of assaults against New York City Housing Authority employees who protect and care for those in need at housing projects owned or managed by the City. Thanks to this new law, crimes against these individuals who serve the public will be prosecuted seriously as felonies and not mischief. I thank Governor Cuomo and Assemblyman Lentol for their leadership on this issue.”

State Senator Jose Peralta said, “The number of children we’re seeing injured and killed on our streets by motorists demands that we move as quickly as possible to fill the hundreds of school crossing guard vacancies that exist throughout New York. I thank Governor Cuomo for his support of my Crossing Guard Safety Act. By showing crossing guards the respect their job warrants and demonstrating that we have their backs, I am hopeful that we will be able to recruit enough crossing guards to fill existing vacancies and address emerging needs."

Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol said, “NYCHA employees usually are at the front lines of housing developments, and as public servants they deserve the same level of protection as a paramedic or sanitation worker. Assaults on NYCHA employees at housing developments have risen as of recently, and I hope increasing the penalty will make somebody think twice and ultimately prevent these unconscionable acts. I applaud my colleagues in the legislature for stepping to the plate and protecting our fellow public servants.”

Assemblyman Michael DenDekker said, “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation into law. Crossing guards are invaluable to maintaining public safety across New York State, and deserve the same protections as other uniformed safety officials. This law will provide these much needed protections to all crossing guards, and will hopefully encourage others to apply to fill vacant positions in this highly important profession.”

The law pertaining to New York City Housing employees passed both houses of the legislature as S3965A and A4999-A, and the law pertaining to school crossing guards passed both houses of the legislature as S122B and A3757-B, respectively.