OSSINING, NY — November 27, 2018 — Yesterday Ossining Police Chief Kevin Sylvester sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing his support of a legislative initiative to grant limited access drivers licenses to all New York residents, regardless of immigration status.
Chief Sylvester’s letter focuses on the experiences of his department, noting that, “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. 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… 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.”
Chief Sylvester qualifies his support of the initiative by acknowledging the importance of law enforcement being part of the solution. He closes his letter to the governor with this statement, “While I support this initiative, like many of my colleagues in the law enforcement community, I recognize certain challenges that must first be addressed. 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 Mayor Victoria Gearity and Chief Kevin Sylvester are among invited speakers participating a community meeting on this topic at the White Plains Public Library at 7pm on Monday, December 3.
Mayor Gearity has been vocal about her support of this 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. A resounding statement from Westchester leaders will help the governor and the new legislature stand strong in their support of this important law.”
Ossining was among the first municipalities to support this effort when the Village Board passed a resolution in December of 2016 urging Albany to move forward legislation similar to what is already in place in a dozen other states.