Many law enforcement officials are concerned about the bail reform laws that are set to take effect in January, especially its impact on battling the opioid crisis.

Under new state law, bail would be eliminated for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies across New York state.

While advocates say the law is intended to make things fairer for those in poverty and reduce jail populations, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter is afraid of the consequences.

“Some people need to be in jail," Baxter said. "Some people are such a danger to society or a danger to themselves, and bail reform is taking all that authority away from judges."

Baxter said when it comes to the opioid crisis, the county has put a lot of work into Operation Hope. It's a program that encourages low-level drug offenders to get help or face jail time.

“If you don’t fulfill these obligations of the treatment plan going forward, we’re going to put you in jail," Baxter said. "But right now, our stick is if you don’t fulfill these obligations we’ll give you an appearance ticket, and you can walk down the street, get another bag of crack or heroine, and possibly die.”

Baxter said sometimes jail is the best place to be for someone in the throes of addiction.

“I’ve had loves ones call us and say 'Please arrest my son,' because they’re so afraid they’re going to die," Baxter said. "And now the fact that we have a medically-assisted therapy wing inside the jail that’s designed just to work with people who are in custody, that are going through addiction.”

But even outside the jail, Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode is worried about the impact bail reform will have on communities.

“Nuisance crimes, right? Somebody broke into my car, somebody stole something from my shed. All those day-to-day crimes that the everyday citizen is actually the victim of and most upset about are the ones we’re talking about,” VanBrederode said.

He says a majority of those crimes are all drug-related.

“When they go to a store in Gates, and they shoplift so they can get enough money for another bag, they get caught in Gates, we give them an appearance ticket, and what do you think they’re going to do?" VanBrederode said. "They’re going to leave my parking lot here and go right to another store, cause of that craving, that craving that they can’t stop.”

He says jail is sometimes the critical component that breaks a vicious cycle of using drugs and committing crimes to support the habit.

“When we actually put them in the Monroe County Jail on some low bail and they sit there for a few days, it has a better impact on them wanting to get involved in some kind of recovery than just walking out the door, 'Yeah, thank you for this, and it ends up on the floorboard of their car with the appearance ticket and they’re off to the next craving,” VanBrederode said.

With the law going into effect, VanBrederode is advocating for a speedier trial process to get those struggling with addiction the help they need more quickly.

“You have to meet them right then and there, where are they in their addiction or recovery? Two hours later, the whole thing could change. So you have to act when the iron is hot,” VanBrederode added.

Sheriff Baxter hopes to see definitive jail sentences so that his therapy wing might help save lives.

“Give me 60 days, I’ll put him in the best in-patient bed in Monroe County inside the jail," Baxter said. "So hopefully we can think the other end of it too. We’ll be stuck with this law, but what can we do on the other end of the criminal justice system?”