Statement from NYSPIA regarding Billy’s Law

For Immediate Release
February 10, 2022


The following statement is attributable to Tim Dymond, President of the New York State Police Investigators Association

“The Bail elimination act of 2019, more commonly known by most New Yorkers as simply “bail reform,” continues to leave tragic outcomes in its wake. Nearly every day there is an example of a serial criminal released without bail to victimize innocent citizens in every region of our state.

One recent example occurred on January 15###sup/sup### in Sullivan County, NY. Forestburgh Fire Company Assistant Chief, Billy Steinberg, died while performing his duties at an intentionally set structure fire by a serial felon and arsonist. Tragically, the suspect in that fatal blaze was in custody on January 14, one day before setting the fire that claimed Billy’s life.  His arrest on the 14###sup/sup### was for previous felony arsons. Unfortunately for Chief Steinberg, his family, and the Forestburgh community, New York’s bail reform law mandated his release from custody.

In response to this senseless death, Senator Mike Martucci sponsored bill S.8181, known as “Billy’s Law.” If enacted, this bill would authorize bail and pre-trial detention for arson felonies. While this law is too late for Chief Billy Steinberg, keeping felon arsonists in custody and off the streets will help protect other firefighters and the public from these dangerous individuals.

We recognize the NYS Legislature’s desire to minimize the prison population in this state. Unfortunately, this desire has already yielded tragic results. These examples can, and must, be corrected. We call on members of the New York State Legislature to swiftly address the deficiencies in the current iteration of bail reform. Deadly consequences were undoubtedly not their intention. However, they must recognize and address the fact that serial felons posing continuous danger must be removed from our communities. Our families and neighbors should not be forced to sacrifice our safety for the freedom of serial felons and murderers. S.8181 can be the first step in this important process.