Onondaga County District Legal professional William Fitzpatrick and Syracuse police Main Kenton Buckner wrote a letter to Syracuse.com during the reporting approach of our story about unlawful evictions:

We are creating jointly to handle what we believe that might become a mischaracterization of our respective office’s endeavours all-around housing and illegal evictions as outlined in New York Point out Genuine House Actions and Proceedings Regulation 768.

In the summer time of 2019, following the previously mentioned statute was passed, associates of the DA’s place of work achieved with an legal professional from the Lawful Providers of Central New York to focus on the parameters of the new law, and to detect a issue individual in the DA’s place of work to navigate investigations and arrests beneath the statute. Right after COVID strike and courts shut down halting obtain to eviction warrants, an legal professional who worked in housing alerted Mr. Fitzpatrick to the truth that self-aid evictions have been on the rise. In April of 2020, customers of the District Attorneys’ Place of work satisfied just about with associates from three legal service organizations who offer with housing advocacy in Central New York. We came up with a strategy to teach the 21 police agencies who provide Onondaga County on the parameters of the law, and to facilitate conversation amongst numerous regulation enforcement agencies, the DA’s business office and housing attorneys in order to tackle two important challenges. Initial, we required to make certain that the statute was staying investigated and charged correctly. And second, we wanted to hook up folks who were being enduring acute housing crises with services to address their quick safety.

To this end, the DA’s workplace drafted overviews of the legislation for law enforcement departments, and established two-way open lines of interaction among housing attorneys and identified point-folks in the business. The Syracuse Law enforcement Department responded by issuing two teaching bulletins to its officers, done roll contact education, and determined a sergeant to liaison with the DA’s office and housing lawyers. Since spring of 2020, the workforce has communicated routinely about particular person instances as they arise, and about how to enhance our reaction as a full. Our attempts involve facilitating reaction by patrol, educating officers on the regulation, furnishing investigative advice and charging selections, and ensuring that the factors for our conclusions are plainly communicated to stakeholders.

As of this producing, the Onondaga County DA’s office environment has prosecuted 10 scenarios alleging illegal eviction. 80% of these were investigated and arrested by the Syracuse Police Section, normally in collaboration with enter by the DA’s office environment and our housing associates. These quantities replicate what our working experience has been on the floor: the collaboration amongst our offices and tenant lawyers has been helpful and has led to felony prosecution when it was lawfully supported by the proof.

In any process, there will inevitably be breakdowns. Even so, the results of the crew is outlined as significantly by what we do nicely, as how we address our shortcomings. As component of your tale, you requested about a grievance by Kelicia Sterling on July 8, 2021. We concur that this case deserves a next look and we are reviewing the entirety of this incident. In addition, you have prompt that housing advocates documented they are unsatisfied with the response by the Syracuse Law enforcement Office. Even though this has not been communicated to both of our officers, we are continuing to dialogue with our associates to increase lines of conversation, to enhance everyone’s understanding of the investigative method, and to identify the very best solution, no matter whether by prison prosecution or advocacy, to just about every scenario. We do not consider a single shortcoming should really overshadow what has usually been a thriving, collaborative effort and hard work which continues to make improvements to as a result of self-evaluation and constructive criticism.

It is essential to note that some of the situations which co-occurred with or direct to the raise in eviction problems have also offered challenges to regulation enforcement’s involvement in trying to clear up them. These consist of the ongoing pandemic the eviction moratorium which has led to disappointment on both equally sides of the landlord tenant divide enhance in violent crime impacting police response to non-violent incidents attrition in the police force getting older housing stock in the City of Syracuse and hesitance by tenants to cooperate with law enforcement investigation. Plainly these issues are not going away both of our workplaces continue to be dedicated to working with each other, and operating with housing attorneys and advocates in the encounter of these obstructions to greatest provide the citizens of Syracuse and Onondaga County.

Sincerely,

William J. Fitzpatrick, Onondaga County District Legal professional

Kenton T. Buckner, Syracuse Police Main