The Broome County Legislature is expected to take up an amended version of the First Responders Protection Act that changes the wording to make the leveling of charges against people who impede police, fire or medical crews at an incident scene based on State Law rather than law enforcement discretion

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The action came as the legislative session November 21 was delayed an hour by dozens of protesters who turned up to demonstrate against treatment of inmates at the county jail and the proposed Responders Protection bill. Over a half dozen demonstrators were removed from the chambers by police.

Members of the group Binghamton Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT) called for an “Annoy the Police” rally at the legislature’s scheduled meeting.

They claimed the First Responders Protection Act would give free reign for police to arrest anyone they wanted while authors of the bill pointed to incidents around the region, state and country where police, fire and medical personnel have been put into danger while doing their jobs. 

Just this week, two police officers in Oneonta were attacked by a suspect they were attempting to detain with one of the officers being punched in the head. Other incidents have seen firefighters and ambulance crews fired upon while responding to calls.

The amended bill is expected to be brought up at the next meeting of the Broome County Legislature in December.

If approved, the legislation would still need to be signed by Broome County Executive Jason Garnar (D).