This was submitted in response to “Open Letter to Local Lawmakers,” written by Councilman Ed Lachterman.

I appreciate Councilmember Lachterman’s letter regarding law enforcement legislation. Public safety is one of my top priorities. I’ve held numerous meetings with Westchester police chiefs and the Westchester Police Benevolent Association on various issues and have awarded over $500,000 in law enforcement/public safety grants to Yorktown and other municipalities and law enforcement agencies across the 40th Senate District. It’s important to support law enforcement and also to listen to the youth of the Black Lives Matter movement to help achieve a more just society.

These are not mutually exclusive goals. I’ve spoken with young advocates in Yorktown and elsewhere to learn more about their perspective on hate, intolerance, and social justice and will work next year to secure funding to ensure police officers receive continued training on racial issues.

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I’m also planning legislation that will allow police officers to have private right of action against fraudulent claims, and to raise the police death and disability benefit to $500,000. We must increase the public trust amongst all community members and strengthen the relationships our law enforcement professionals have with the people they serve in order to keep our neighborhoods respectful and safe for everyone.

State Sen. Pete Harckham represents the 40th District.