Lawmakers Seek “Peace Officer Status” For Chautauqua Institution Police

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – After an attack on world-renowned author Salmon Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution, many are seeking a long-term security solution for the cultural center.

Since the fateful attack, those with the institution have increased their security presence at the gated community. However, some state lawmakers feel that’s not enough.

In years prior, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell and Senator George Borrello have sponsored legislation that would give “Peace Officer status” to the Chautauqua Institution Police Department.

The Assemblyman says this would allow security to make arrests, carry a weapon, and overall, be more efficient.

While the Legislation has never made it past the Governor’s desk, Goodell urges the current administration in Albany to take action now.

“That legislation passed the senate and the assembly a couple years in a row, and was vetoed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo,” explained Goodell. “We’re urging Governor Hochul to call special session, or to at least at a minimum, include that legislation in the budget, so that we can employ the constituents we just experienced.”

“It’s nice that Governor Hochul comes and makes a political speech in front of a handful of people on Sunday, joining all of us here in Chautauqua County and condemning the recent attack,” continued Goodell. “It would be even better if she put those words into action, and support our legislation to give Peace Officer status to the officers at Chautauqua Institution.”

During Governor Kathy Hochul’s visit on Sunday, she announced that New York State Police, and the county Sheriff’s Office, are working together to step up security through the end of the season.

In the end, Assemblyman Goodell believes officially swearing in the Institution Officers would be a good long-term fix.


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