[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-5-2013 by Res. No. 96-2013]
Many perpetrators of mass shootings such as those in Aurora, Colorado and Tuscon, Arizona either have been or are diagnosed with serious mental illness at the time of committing their crimes or shortly thereafter. The mass shooting of school children in Newtown, Connecticut this past December has focused public attention on proposals to prevent persons who are a threat to themselves or others from gaining access to firearms. Stony Brook University Hospital has a specialized unit to treat patients with acute psychiatric conditions, the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program ("CPEP"). Suffolk County Police Officers have transported more than 3,000 individuals determined to be a threat to themselves or others and in need of psychiatric assistance to CPEP each year for the past three years. It is recognized that the majority of individuals who are mentally ill are not violent or dangerous, but individuals who are involuntarily transported to CPEP may pose a danger to themselves or others. It would be prudent to check the names and addresses of individuals being transported to CPEP by the Suffolk County Police Department and the Office of the Suffolk County Sheriff against the County's pistol licensing registries to determine if an individual owns or has access to firearms. Checking the identities of these individuals against the pistol licensing registry provides the Police Department with important information that can be used to better protect public safety.
The Suffolk County Police Department and the Office of the Suffolk County Sheriff are hereby authorized, empowered and directed to check the identity and home address of any person transported involuntarily by an officer to CPEP against the Suffolk County Police Department's Pistol License Registry and the Suffolk County Sheriff's Pistol License Registry.
If the person transported to CPEP is unable to provide a home address, the location at which he or she was encountered by law enforcement shall be used.
These requirements shall also apply to any transport made by an officer to alternate facilities in the event CPEP is unable to accept additional patients.
In the event the information provided by a person being transported to CPEP matches with the name and/or address of a licensed pistol owner, the Pistol Licensing Bureau of the Suffolk County Police Department or the Pistol Licensing Bureau of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office will be notified of the transport and all appropriate information no later than the next business day.
The Suffolk County Police Department and the Office of the Suffolk County Sheriff are further authorized and directed to develop a plan in conjunction with law enforcement departments outside of the Police District to establish similar policies and ensure reporting to the County's two pistol licensing bureaus.
Any County bureau receiving notification of a transport to CPEP by a pistol licensee or resident of a pistol licensee's home shall investigate and take all action necessary to determine the appropriate status of the subject pistol license.