Calls for Community Input on DWI, Illegal Hiring & Housing
After months of negotiations, with the support of law enforcement, elected officials and members of the public, Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) publicly addressed the distinct issues of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and illegal housing and hiring at a summit held in Brewster today.
“Since being elected, I have been active, specifically on the issue of illegal housing and hiring, but I have needed, and until recently have not had, broad based support to get these initiatives adopted,” Ball said. “Similarly, on DWI, there is much that can be done if all elected officials in the county and beyond work together as a team.”
Ball said his day-long summit was a first step in his grassroots campaign to “Pass the Plan: Enforce the Law” and address illegal alien crimes and stiffen penalties for DWI. The day included meetings with the Directors of the United States Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Offices of Investigations and Detention and Removal Operations, other local law enforcement, elected officials from the local, county and state level, as well as a public forum at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall.
“I will need your strong and vocal support to urge my fellow officials to act,” Ball told residents during the town hall style meeting. “After weeks of working with local and state leaders to develop a comprehensive response, I am hosting this meeting to get your input, while laying out a targeted and comprehensive strategy for your consideration and grassroots action.”
Ball said he is hoping that members of the public will contact him with their support, thoughts and suggestions on the plan before he officially unveils the plan in the coming weeks.
“It is important for the community to know that we are working diligently behind the scenes to address the core issues that are important to them and the community at large,” Ball added.
Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith said, “We appreciate that Assemblyman Greg Ball is doing everything in his power to help law enforcement in Putnam County work with officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We strongly believe that Putnam County has forged a model program working with ICE in reporting illegal aliens who commit criminal offenses. The facts speak for themselves. In the past three years, this office has reported to the ICE Detention and Removal Office some 558 foreign nationals who entered the Putnam County Correctional Facility on state or local criminal charges. Those contacts to ICE resulted in the lodging of more than 215 detainer warrants, the turn-over of 156 detainees to ICE custody and the turn-over of 30 detainees to other law enforcement agencies.”
“Prosecuting intoxicated drivers is a priority in the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office,” said Putnam County District Attorney, Adam Levy, who has seen a 33.3% increase in DWI arrests since taking office in January 2008. “Law enforcement officers are out there. They are looking to arrest intoxicated drivers before they kill someone. The Putnam County District Attorney’s Office works very closely with those law enforcement officers to ensure that those DWI arrests end up as convictions. Once convicted, you will be punished. It’s just that simple.”
“Having lost a close family member to drunk driving myself, I know first-hand the pain that drunk driving can cause and the havoc it can wreak on a family,” said Putnam County Legislator Dan Birmingham. “As a community, we need to crack down on drunk drivers in order to better protect our loved ones.”