State legislature repeals 50-A

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ALBANY – The law that prevents disclosure of past complaints and findings of improprieties while serving as police officers was repealed by the state legislature on Tuesday.

The law, 50-A, was seen as a means of shielding officers from public disclosure of past charges filed against them for misconduct.

Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey supports repeal of the law.

“It has a lot to do with complete transparency with some of their formal complaints and some of their disciplinary actions that were put on those officers because of misconduct and/or things have happened in their personnel file,” he said.

State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D, Forestburgh) voted for repeal, but she said laws “can no longer shield officers who break the public trust.”

But Gunther, who said her grandfather, father, uncles, cousins and nephew are or were police officers, are among “the vast and overwhelming majority (of officers who) ae good people looking to do the right thing to protect the public.

Officers who have unsubstantiated complaints “should not have their lives ruined by a vindictive perpetrator that makes up a false accusation, so she hopes the legislature “will return and fix this glaring loophole.”