NY Police Group: Criminals Could Use Website Map

The Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County demanded that The Journal News take the gun map down from its website

By Jim Fitzgerald
|  Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013  |  Updated 7:12 PM EDT
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NY Police Group: Criminals Could Use Website Map

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A newspaper's map pinpointing residents who hold gun permits could lead ex-convicts to the homes of the officers who caught them, a coalition of police organizations said Tuesday.
 

The Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County demanded that The Journal News take the map down from its website. In a separate announcement, the county executive also called for the map to be shut down.
 
The police group's vice president, Robert Buckley, said the posting endangers the families of active and retired "police officers, parole officers, probation officers, correction officers, court officers, district attorneys' investigators, ATF officers, CIA agents, U.S. marshals and FBI agents."
 
"We are the ones who put the criminals away," Buckley said at a news conference in White Plains, backed by about 110 members. "We are talking about some of the most ruthless murderers, rapists, pedophiles, organized crime figures and gang members. ... Some of them may want to retaliate."
 
He said inmates have been telling Rockland County correction officers, "We know where you live. ... Your wife and kids are home alone."
 
Buckley said some active officers — including the Rockland correction officers — are required to have a pistol permit for their gun. All officers must have a permit to carry a gun after retirement, he said.
 
Last month, The Journal News published an interactive map listing the names and addresses of residents of Westchester and Rockland counties with handgun permits. That prompted a debate on what records should be made public and led to some threats against the newspaper and its staffers. A third county, Putnam, has refused to turn over similar data on its residents.
 
County Executive Robert Astorino sent a letter to Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group, acknowledging that the newspaper had the right to publish the information but saying it was "misguided."
 
"Whatever your purpose in publishing the map, surely three weeks was enough to make your point," the county executive said.
 
The Journal News map prompted some privacy provisions in a gun control bill that passed the state Legislature on Tuesday. Under the bill, some permit owners — including police officers — would be allowed to keep their information private.
 
Buckley called that "a victory for the law enforcement community."
 
But Hasson said The Journal News is "disappointed with the broad nature of several exemptions in the law and lack of opportunity for any reasonable period for public comment or discussion.
 
"We are reviewing the law and the impact it might have on publication of permit data in the future," she said in an emailed statement.
 
Hasson did not comment on statements from the police coalition or the county executive.
 
Buckley said the coalition might sue the newspaper if the map led to any confrontations at officers' homes.

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