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Katko endorsed by law enforcement unions

Ellen Abbott
At Forman Park in Syracuse Monday, the Benevolent Association President Jeff Piedmont expresses support for incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who's seeking reelection in New York's 24th Congressional District.

Nine central New York law enforcement agencies are supporting Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in his re-election bid. Katko, a freshman Republican, worked with many police professionals during the years he was a federal prosecutor in Syracuse. 

At Forman Park in Syracuse Monday, Katko said there are ways he would like to support law enforcement at a time when racial issues surrounding police officers are widely reported.

“Making sure they have the proper training is a great thing," Katko said. "I think they would all say that. They would love to have the dollars to have more training. Absolutely that’s part of it. I mention the body cameras too. Body cameras go both ways. The body cameras are on everybody and are working, it’s pretty hard for baseless allegations to come out, and it’s hard for anybody to dispute the facts.”

Katko also picked up support from unions that represent law enforcement during his 2014 campaign as well, but things have changed since then. Alleged racial shootings involving black victims in other parts of the country have prompted a political movement that suggests racial bias is at work in the nation's police stations. Katko, in his days as a federal prosecutor, worked with many central New York police agencies. 

"I don’t know [that] any of these folks here are engaged in any sort of bias," Katko said. "I tell you right now, I was with these guys every day for 20 years, and I never saw a lot of the stuff that’s on the national scene. But the bottom line, is if there are any bad eggs you need to engage in retraining to find out what the problems are.”

Katko supports finding more funds for training as well as the expansion of cameras among central New York police officers. He said that can often clear up questions of racial motivation in police shootings. Still, Katko said officers should be recognized for all that they do. 

“Law enforcement day in and day out, the vast, vast, vast majority of them, say goodbye to their husbands and wives every day and go out and put their lives on the line. And I think once in a while we have to stop and say thank you for what they do, and the EMS responders, too, say thank you. Yes, you hear about the 'bad actors,' but you don’t hear about the great work.”

Katko is running for reelection in the 24th Congressional District that includes all or parts of Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne and Oswego Counties. He faces Democrat Colleen Deacon in the general election.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.