BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN
Senator Chuck Schumer is in town this morning to talk about witness intimidation. Schumer is pushing the State Witness Protection Act: legislation that would make witness intimidation a federal crime and beef up punishment for those convicted of it.
Schumer made a similar pitch for the Act recently in Syracuse. At that time, I asked Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard if witness intimidation is a big problem here. He said it isn’t, which makes today’s Schumer appearance intriguing. It’s true that witness cooperation is a big issue, and both Sheppard and Mayor Tom Richards have repeatedly urged community members to come forward when they know something.
I wonder if the Act would really accomplish anything, though. Rochester has made few arrests during this violent summer. If you can’t catch and charge the bad guy, how are you going to catch charge the people responsible for keeping the witnesses quiet?
Schumer’s press conference is at 11:15 a.m. in front of the Public Safety Building on Exchange Street.