Village of Ossining Police Chief Kevin Sylvester has expressed support of a legislative initiative to grant limited access drivers licenses at all New York residents, regardless of their immigration status.
In late November, Sylvester penned a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo focusing on the experiences of his department.
“Annually, more than 10% of all traffic tickets issued within our municipality are for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. An even higher percentage of our reported collisions involve one or more unlicensed drivers,” Sylvester stated. “It is time to recognize that our efforts are not accomplishing the objective. We must change our strategy in order to effectively and efficiently make our roads safe.”
“Granting access to drivers licenses would ensure that a greater proportion of our motorists have proven basic competency through written and practical examinations,” Sylvester continued. “Government-issued identification also has a positive impact on law enforcement interactions. Victims can more confidently report crime and our officers will have an improved ability to identify those with whom they interact.”
Sylvester maintained law enforcement should be part of the solution.
“While I support this initiative, like many of my colleagues in the law enforcement community, I recognize certain challenges that must first be addressed,” he stated in his letter. “For that reason, I urge you to include our law enforcement leaders in the conversation. Considering the perspective of those tasked with enforcing the law will improve functionality and help ensure that our efforts deliver the desired result of improving public safety and the quality of life of all our neighbors.”
Ossining was among the first municipalities to support this effort when the Village Board passed a resolution in December 2016 urging Albany to move forward legislation similar to what is already in place in a dozen other states.
Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, who along with Sylvester, will be among several invited speakers participating a community meeting on the subject this week White Plains, has been outspoken about her support of the legislation.
“We are often frustrated that there is little we can do to influence federal immigration policies coming from the White House. I am pleased to be part of the group of municipal leaders advocating for this tangible improvement to the economic stability of our undocumented residents, and safer roadways for everyone,” she said.