John Katko

12/15/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/15/2020 12:49

Seven Years After David Renz Attack, Rep. Katko, Local Advocate Bill Cregg, CNY Law Enforcement & Non-Profits Announce Significant Progress on Effort to Improve Pre-Trial[...]

Katko: Inspired by Local Hero, Bill's Promise Will Make Our Communities Safer

SYRACUSE, NY- Seven years after the David Renz attack, U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today announced the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will conduct a comprehensive review of failures in the pre-trial release system and provide information that will help improve protections for victims. It was authorized after Rep. Katko led a bipartisan effort urging the GAO to begin the study he proposed under the Bill's Promise Act.

Rep. Katko made the announcement in a virtual press conference alongside local advocate Bill Cregg, Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway, Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, former Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan, as well as Randi Bregman and Angela Douglass, Co-Executive Directors for Vera House, and Colleen Merced and Mark Fuller, Executive Director and Vice President for the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center.

In 2013, David Renz disassembled his GPS-monitoring ankle bracelet while on pretrial release, resulting in the horrific attack on Lori Bresnahan. In the six weeks leading up to his escape, Renz practiced disassembling and reassembling his bracelet, setting off 46 alerts that were not responded to by probation officers. Following the attack, Bill Cregg was the first on the scene and stayed until law enforcement arrived. Since then, Cregg has advocated for improvements to pre-trial release programs and served as the inspiration for the Bill's Promise Act.

'Following the horrific attack by David Renz, Bill Cregg promised he would work tirelessly to change the laws surrounding pre-trial release,' said Rep. Katko. 'Inspired by his advocacy, last year I introduced the Bill's Promise Act. This measure directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our nation's pre-trial release laws. Today, I'm pleased to announce the GAO will begin work on this critical review. The study will pay special attention to monitoring response protocols when an ankle monitor or other electronic monitoring device signals that an individual is violating the terms of their release. It is my hope that this effort will improve protections for victims, make our communities safer, and prevent future tragedies.'

Specifically, Rep. Katko's effort directs theGovernment Accountability Office (GAO) to:

  • Provide data on the number and types of federal crimes that individuals on pre-trial release have been charged with over the past 5 years
  • Examine policies that guide federal Probation and Pretrial Services officers in their response when an electronic monitoring device indicates either tampering or noncompliance with pretrial release requirement
  • Review actions being taken to ensure Probation and Pretrial Services officers are adhering to the monitoring and supervision policies in place
  • Examine staffing and resource challenges Probation and Pretrial Services face and extent of their coordination with state agencies to help administer probation and pretrial services