New York is spending $50 million to boost local law enforcement and to ensure defendants make their court appearances, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday at a conference of police officials from around the state.
The $30 million touted by Hochul will be used to help local police agencies purchase equipment like cameras or license plate readers. At the same time, Hochul is backing $20 million in spending to expand pre-trial services in New York amid a contentious debate over the state's law that limited when cash bail would be required for those facing criminal charges.
“Know that as your governor I will assist you in anyway possible," Hochul told the law enforcement officials at the event in Albany. "You will never hear the word from me or my administration ‘defund the police.’ In fact, we're doing the opposite."
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, Hochul's November opponent, has been running on a platform of repealing the bail law as well as many other criminal justice law changes in recent years critics have contended are linked to a rise in violent crime in New York.
Supporters of the laws point to deeper societal issues surrounding public safety, including the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Voters have ranked crime as one of their top concerns, though a Siena College poll on Wednesday morning found the economy has overtaken the issue among New Yorkers surveyed.
Still, public safety could remain a potent issue in the election. On Tuesday, Zeldin and Hochul announced competing endorsements from law enforcement organizations.
Hochul has also sought to crack down on the flow of illegal guns into New York amid rising shootings, and has pointed to efforts that have led to the confiscation of those firearms.
"We can restore peoples' confidence, restore public safety, restore that sense of well-being that is so important to me that people have," Hochul said. "I remain committed as your governor to focus on this with 100% attention."