Onondaga County District Lawyer William Fitzpatrick and Syracuse law enforcement Main Kenton Buckner wrote a letter to Syracuse.com through the reporting system of our tale about illegal evictions:
We are creating jointly to address what we consider may develop into a mischaracterization of our respective office’s attempts all-around housing and unlawful evictions as described in New York Condition True House Actions and Proceedings Legislation 768.
In the summer time of 2019, just after the above statute was passed, users of the DA’s business office met with an lawyer from the Legal Companies of Central New York to focus on the parameters of the new legislation, and to discover a level particular person in the DA’s business office to navigate investigations and arrests below the statute. Immediately after COVID strike and courts shut down halting accessibility to eviction warrants, an attorney who labored in housing alerted Mr. Fitzpatrick to the reality that self-support evictions have been on the rise. In April of 2020, members of the District Attorneys’ Place of work achieved virtually with reps from a few lawful assistance organizations who deal with housing advocacy in Central New York. We came up with a program to teach the 21 law enforcement businesses who provide Onondaga County on the parameters of the law, and to aid conversation amongst different regulation enforcement companies, the DA’s office and housing attorneys in buy to deal with two key challenges. Very first, we needed to make certain that the statute was getting investigated and billed correctly. And 2nd, we desired to join individuals who had been dealing with acute housing crises with companies to address their fast basic safety.
To this close, the DA’s office environment drafted overviews of the legislation for police departments, and produced two-way open traces of conversation among housing attorneys and recognized place-persons in the business. The Syracuse Law enforcement Section responded by issuing two training bulletins to its officers, executed roll connect with teaching, and discovered a sergeant to liaison with the DA’s place of work and housing attorneys. Considering the fact that spring of 2020, the staff has communicated often about person scenarios as they arise, and about how to strengthen our response as a entire. Our initiatives contain facilitating response by patrol, educating officers on the regulation, providing investigative steerage and charging conclusions, and ensuring that the factors for our choices are obviously communicated to stakeholders.
As of this creating, the Onondaga County DA’s office environment has prosecuted 10 scenarios alleging unlawful eviction. 80% of these were investigated and arrested by the Syracuse Law enforcement Division, normally in collaboration with input by the DA’s place of work and our housing partners. These figures replicate what our practical experience has been on the floor: the collaboration among our places of work and tenant lawyers has been powerful and has led to criminal prosecution when it was lawfully supported by the proof.
In any process, there will inevitably be breakdowns. Nonetheless, the good results of the team is outlined as considerably by what we do nicely, as how we deal with our shortcomings. As aspect of your tale, you questioned about a complaint by Kelicia Sterling on July 8, 2021. We agree that this case justifies a next search and we are reviewing the entirety of this incident. In addition, you have recommended that housing advocates documented they are not happy with the reaction by the Syracuse Law enforcement Division. While this has not been communicated to possibly of our officers, we are continuing to dialogue with our partners to increase lines of communication, to greatly enhance everyone’s comprehending of the investigative course of action, and to discover the most effective technique, regardless of whether by prison prosecution or advocacy, to each individual scenario. We do not believe that one particular shortcoming really should overshadow what has or else been a successful, collaborative effort and hard work which continues to make improvements to by self-assessment and constructive criticism.
It is crucial to notice that some of the conditions which co-transpired with or lead to the raise in eviction difficulties have also introduced challenges to regulation enforcement’s involvement in attempting to fix them. These contain the ongoing pandemic the eviction moratorium which has led to aggravation on both of those sides of the landlord tenant divide enhance in violent crime impacting law enforcement response to non-violent incidents attrition in the law enforcement force getting older housing stock in the Town of Syracuse and hesitance by tenants to cooperate with police investigation. Clearly these challenges are not heading absent both equally of our offices remain dedicated to doing the job with each other, and operating with housing attorneys and advocates in the encounter of these hurdles to best serve the citizens of Syracuse and Onondaga County.
William J. Fitzpatrick, Onondaga County District Attorney
Kenton T. Buckner, Syracuse Police Chief