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Drug Dealer Registry Approved by NYS Senate

The New York State Senate approved today legislation sponsored by Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira) to create a state-level Drug Dealer Registry that would require convicted felony drug dealers to register with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for up to 10 years.The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 49 to 11.“Drug dealers ruin lives, especially young lives, wreckneighborhoods, and unravel the fabric of many communities,” said Winner, amember of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. “ADrug Dealer Registry will help us know who the dealers are, and where theyare, in our communities. This heightened public awareness would give localpolice officers and local residents a strong tool to fight back againstillegal drug trafficking.”Winner said that his proposal was developed with input from local lawenforcement authorities, including village of Bath (Steuben County) PoliceChief David K. Rouse, who advanced and advocated the idea for a Drug DealerRegistry in a letter to Winner early last year. He noted that in recentyears there have been consistent reports of a steadily increasinginfiltration of drug dealers from large urban areas, including New YorkCity, into many of upstate’s small cities, towns, and villages.Rouse said, “Drug dealers pose a threat to all citizens and theirillicit activities have a significant impact on a community’s quality oflife. Absent of a Drug Dealer Registry, drug dealers can conceal theiridentities and criminal pasts, moving undetected from one jurisdiction toanother while continuing their illicit trade. When encountered by lawenforcement they provide bogus identification and their true identities arenot known until they are subsequently arrested and fingerprinted.”Winner’s “Drug Dealer Registration Act” (S.5980/A.8824), which issponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Island),is patterned after New York’s Sex Offender Registry and would providenotification to local law enforcement agencies and communities on theidentity and whereabouts of convicted dealers. Under the measure, DCJSwould be required to create a registry of criminals found guilty of afelony drug dealer offense in New York State. First-time offenders wouldbe required to register for a period of five years. A 10-yearregistration period would be required following any subsequent convictions.Much like the state’s existing Sex Offender Registry, the proposedDrug Dealer Registry would require the DCJS to maintain an Internetdirectory containing a variety of information on convicted drug dealersincluding the offender’s name and any known aliases, home address, expectedplace of domicile, photograph, offense committed, and sentence. Thedivision would be required to forward registry information to local lawenforcement agencies and, in addition to the Drug Dealer Registry web site,maintain a toll-free telephone number as another way for the public toobtain registry information.Winner noted that similar legislation has been proposed at thefederal level, as well as in the states of Maine and New Mexico.The legislation is currently in the Assembly Correction Committee. It must be approved by the Assembly and signed by Governor David Paterson before becoming law.

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