This is a letter to the editor from Republican New York State Senate candidate Rich David. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, send them to Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.com.

It was a bad end of the month as the crime wave across New York continues. In July, we tragically lost Rochester police officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz, a 29-year veteran of the department. Mazurkiewicz, and his partner were conducting surveillance inside a parked, unmarked vehicle when approximately 16 rounds were fired. Mazurkiewicz was struck twice and killed.

Congressman and candidate for Governor Lee Zeldin was also recently attacked by a man who tried to stab him. The attacker was charged with 2nd degree attempted assault, a felony. Unfortunately, due to bail reform, the attacker was released within hours, endangering the victim and all New Yorkers. 

NYC Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, last week called an attack on a police officer a “clear case” for rolling back NY bail reform after the attacker was arrested for another violent crime days earlier, and released under the new system. Mayor Adams said “when I say we’re the laughingstock of the country this is what I’m talking about.”

The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region have also seen recent criminal activity. In July, the Ithaca Police Department investigated 11 burglaries at businesses throughout the City, and the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department and State Police investigated multiple reports of commercial burglaries in Towns and Villages in Lansing and Dryden that took place at a church, ice cream business and grocery store site under construction.

And in Homer, Cortland County, the Police Department is reminding residents to lock their vehicles after a recent rash of break-ins.

We must repeal the cashless bail system that allows for the release of dangerous criminals and restore judicial discretion in bail determinations, especially for defendants that pose a threat to the public or are repeat offenders.

I support funding municipal police departments and providing them with the tools they need to keep us safe. We must also increase penalties for those who target and attack law enforcement, as well as penalties for violent and repeat offenders. 

State agencies must be transparent about the effects of public safety policies and enact policies that get dangerous criminals off our streets. I support more victim’s services and resources and investing in proven mental health, addiction, and homeless programs.

Every person I talk to, regardless of politics, is concerned about crime and the safety of their family and neighbors. The issue of public safety transcends party affiliation.

These are dangerous times, and my experience as Binghamton Mayor, President of the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), and the only candidate directly responsible for overseeing a police department, provides me with the qualifications necessary to be the most effective State Senator for our region. As Mayor, I was on the front lines leading the senate district’s largest city, dealing with the negative impact of Albany’s pro-criminal policies, working to retain personnel, expand community policing and forging partnerships with mental health providers to keep our community safe.

No matter where we live, we must elect officials who prioritize public safety. Our families and businesses deserve nothing less.  

Rich David is the former Mayor of Binghamton, NY, and the former President of the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM). He is the Republican candidate for the 52nd Senate District, which covers parts of Broome, Cortland and Tompkins Counties.