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AMENDED 397 OF THE N.Y.S. V&T LAW

PROPOSAL TO MAKE NEEDED CHANGES TO THIS LAW


397. EQUIPPING MOTOR VEHICLES WITH RADIO RECEIVING SETS CAPABLE OF RECEIVING SIGNALS ON THE FREQUENCIES ALLOCATED FOR POLICE USE.
A person, not a police officer,or peace officer, acting pursuant to his special duties, or an amateur radio operator licensed by the federal communications commission who equips a motor vehicle with a radio receiving set capable of receiving signals on the frequencies allocated for police use or knowingly uses a motor vehicle so equipped or who in any way knowingly interferes with the transmission of radio messages by the police without having first secured a permit to do so from the person authorized to issue such a permit by the local governing body or board of the city, town or village in which such person resides, or where such person resides outside of a city, or village in a county having a county police department by the board of supervisors of such county, is guilty of a traffic infraction.misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both. Nothing in this section contained shall be construed to apply to any person who is authorized to operate a motor vehicle which otherwise is legally equipped under this section. holds a valid amateur radio operator's license issued by the federal communications commission and who operates a duly licensed portable mobile transmitter and in connection therewith a receiver or receiving set on frequencies exclusively allocated by the federal communications commission to duly licensed radio amateurs.

Matter underscored is new. Matter stricken is old law to be omitted.


THIS DRAFT CHANGES 397 IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

1. It removes the the language "acting pursuant to his special duties" for peace officers. Peace officers have the power of arrest and carry firearms in most situations. Having "off-duty" peace officers assist with crimes in progress is a benefit for all concerned.

2. It clarifies the status of amateur radio operators equipping their vehicles with radio equipment. The current law only covers specific radio equipment, which makes it difficult for compliance with this law by amateur radio operators and confuses law enforcement personnel. It also brings the statute up to Federal law (FCC) preemption rulings.

3. It lowers the penalty for violations of this law from a misdemeanor to a traffic infraction. A misdemeanor is too serious of a charge for a violation of this statute, considering that the Penal Law 140.40 has provisions for using any radio devices in the commission of crimes, and Penal Law 195.05 prohibits intentional radio interference on public safety frequencies, both of which are misdemeanors.

4. Finally, it exempts drivers who operate vehicles owned by persons or entities which lawfully have police radio devices in their vehicles. Under current law, spouses and children of a police officer could be charged with violating this law. It also holds harmless family, friends, employees, technicians and mechanics from violating this statute.


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