Rensselaer County unanimously approves a drug dealer registry; teenagers can be on the list
Rensselaer County has a new registry for drug dealers. It’s a list tracking where convicted drug dealers in the county are living.
Those in favor of it say this will help prevent illegal drug sales and prevent overdoses. The county legislature unanimously passed the law earlier this week.
This may be the first drug dealer registry at the county level in New York.
This registry will let people know of convicted drug dealers in their neighborhoods. It’s very similar to a sex offender registry.
Rensselaer County posted on Facebook that its county legislature passed the registry.
Some people are all for it, saying there are consequences when someone makes bad choices. Others are concerned that the drug dealer registry will just make it easier for people to find out where to buy drugs.
“That was one of the things we brought up in our discussions. That said, I don’t know that’s there too many folks looking for drugs who don’t know where to get them,” District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly said.
NewsChannel 13’s Tessa Bentulan sat down one-on-one with Democratic Rensselaer County District Attorney, Mary Pat Donnelly. She said she supports the legislature’s approval of the new local law.
It’s a public registry; meaning anyone can look at it.
“I think what I want the community to know is: this is your elected legislators’ response to what we hear time and time again out in the community: what can we do about these drug dealers? How can we keep these drugs out of our communities?”
The registry will have the names and address information of people convicted of drug sale crimes. Even teenagers as young as 16 convicted of drug sale crimes can be on the registry.
“That was something the legislature felt strongly about. However, as a District Attorney I’m aware of the limitations Raise the Age brings,” Donnelly said. “If a 16-year-old were convicted, it would be unlikely that they would be convicted in adult court. I think that would be something we’d address on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, Raise the Age would put a 16-year-old drug dealer in family court.”
Raise the Age changed the age that a child can be prosecuted as an adult to 18 years of age in criminal cases in New York state. Before Raise the Age, New York held 16-year-olds criminally responsible.
People convicted of drug crimes will stay on the registry for 10 years. Repeat offenders face lifetime registry after a second drug-related conviction.
An annual fee of $50 is required for registration. The county said this is for administrative and maintenance costs of the registry.
Even though the registry was passed into law this week, you won’t see it online for a while because it still needs to go through several other approval processes, including the state.