Holden introduces series of bills to bolster law enforcement and public safety

Council Member Robert Holden represents the neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Rego Park and parts of Ridgewood.
Photo by William Alatriste/NYC Council

Queens Council Member Robert Holden has introduced a series of bills that aim to impose tougher penalties on lawbreakers and provide law enforcement with additional tools to make arrests. 

Holden, who serves as chair of the Veterans Committee in the city council and co-chair of the Common Sense Caucus, has introduced similar legislation in recent years. However, he is redoubling his efforts, saying that he remains concerned about public safety and wants to address quality-of-life issues. 

“The primary job of a Council Member is to prioritize improving public safety and quality of life and giving our police the tools to do so,” Holden said earlier this month. “These bills are critical steps towards achieving that goal, addressing a wide range of issues that directly impact the well-being of our citizens.”

Many of Holden’s bills aim to give police officers greater freedom to enforce the law. One bill (Intro 761) seeks to amend the so-called “Diaphram bill,” which would remove the prohibition on police officers from sitting, kneeling, or standing on the chest or back of a person under arrest. 

Another bill, if passed, would require cops to carry sound-level meters when responding to noise complaints (Intro 763), while another calls for an interagency task force to combat drivers operating vehicles with illegal out-of-state plates (Intro 765). 

Two other bills take aim at the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that consolidates information on police officers—as well as allegations of misconduct lodged against them—in a publicly available database. 

Holden’s bill would require members of the review board to participate in a ride-along with the NYPD (Intro 757) as well as participate in firearm use and safety training conducted by the police department (Intro 758).

Furthermore, Holden introduced bills that aim to address several quality-of-life issues, including one to combat light pollution (Intro 753), another to prohibit smoking paraphernalia near schools (Intro 755), and another to establish an interagency task force to address derelict housing and neglected property (Intro 756). 

Holden has introduced a bill that aims to impose harsher penalties on drivers with out-of-state vehicles with obscure plates. Holden’s legislation (Intro 766) would require the city to strip drivers with blocked or partially covered places from using their cars. 

Among his proposed legislation are four resolutions calling on the state to change certain laws. Holden is urging the governor to sign a bill amending the New York State Penal Law (Res. 308) that would increase the seriousness—and thereby punishment—to first-degree and second-degree for reckless endangerment of emergency service personnel. 

In a similar public safety-related resolution, Holden is also calling on the state to include pretrial detention pertaining to hate crime charges (Res. 309). 

As Chair of the Veterans Committee, Holden is also pushing for more protections and services for veterans. He has introduced a resolution calling on the state to provide veterans with specifically designated property tax exemptions (Res. 311). He has also introduced a bill that would require the Department of Homeless Services to report information on veterans entering an existing shelter (Intro 754). 

Two other bills Holden seeks to pass involve adding cameras on city streets (Intro 764) and allowing the use of the sweeper camera enforcement program to capture people violating the law. The offenders would then be sent tickets through first-class mail (Res. 310

One of Holden’s bills (Intro 752) would allow the city to revoke a business’s tobacco license if it is caught selling illegal cannabis. The bill was addressed in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s recent FY25 Budget agreement, which detailed the state’s plans to end illegal smoke shops in the city.