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Law Enforcement Unions Say Bail Reform To Blame For Spike In Violent Crimes As City Focuses On NYPD Reform

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The deadline for police departments in New York to make changes is less than three weeks away.

On the heels of New York City outlining the second phase of its plan for the NYPD, law enforcement unions, backed by families of gun violence victims, are coming together to give their input.

Pictures of Brandon Hendricks and Shamoya McKenzie - basketball stars with big dreams - sat side by side. They were tragically killed in separate shootings.

"My son deserved to live, deserved to live his dreams," said Brandon's mother Eve Hendricks.

"Shamoya was just 13 years old and, we were coming from basketball practice... she got shot by a stray bullet," said Shamoya's mom Nadine McKenzie.

The mothers stood alongside the father of slain detective Randolph Holder at a news conference, backed by all five police unions who want legislation passed in their honor.

"Legislation that will permit judges to keep criminals carrying illegal guns in custody," said Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association.

The group is calling on lawmakers to revisit the bail reform law, saying it's to blame for the spike in violence across the city.

The city is focusing its efforts on NYPD reform, outlining part two of its plan Friday. The key themes include:

  • Decriminalization of poverty
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Community representation

"It has 28 more important proposals for making the NYPD more effective, more responsive, more sensitive to communities," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Proposals include legislation to ensure harsher punishments for officers accused of misconduct - pension forfeiture in the most egregious cases.

Also among the proposals is a push to make city residence a more significant factor in hiring officers.

"Sixty percent of our members live in the confines of New York City. Why do they move out?" said PBA President Patrick Lynch. "Because they can't afford to live in the city that we serve."

"Police reform is happening no matter what. So are there some changes the unions agree on?" CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis asked.

"We would accept a seat at the table to have dialogue to go through the reforms," said DiGiacomo.

Asked several times for their ideas, union leaders kept going back to bail reform, saying when it comes to that law, and changes to the NYPD, they have yet to be offered that seat at the table.

"Let's have the discussion, a real discussion. Stop demonizing us for the job that we do," said Lynch.

The clock is ticking as the April 1 deadline approaches.

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