NEW YORK — It's one of the biggest reforms to ever hit New York's legal system, and it's just months away.
The NYPD is making a big change in the law that's putting the police at odds with the governor. He says as a whole, crime is down in NYC, but concern grows about the future.
"I am worried about it. Come January 1st, there's going to be a lot of people who are currently not on our streets that are going to be back on our streets," said Chief Terence Monahan.
The fear is tied to the elimination of almost all cash bail in New York State — a dramatic change expected to take place in 2020.
The reform has been touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and was signed into law as part of the most recent budget deal. Starting next year, state judges will be banned from setting bail in a vast majority of misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases.
"That had to end. It should have been ended decades ago," Cuomo said, "We ended cash bail for 90% of the cases— that means 25,000 people will now be free until they have their day in court."
So what happens if the law stands as is? The chief believes city residents could pay the price.
"With more people out on the streets, with more people who should not be back on the streets. Do you think crime will go up? There's a possibility," Monahan said.
PIX11 reached out to the governor's office, who said this law is responding to a cash bail system that has been broken for years, adding that "comprehensive approach to criminal justice reform has resulted in significant declines in both incarceration and arrests statewide, providing hard proof that New Yorkers can reduce reliance upon prison and improve public safety at the same time.”
They did not directly respond to questions about the NYPD's concerns or address the state lawmakers who are now pushing legislation to revise the cash bail law to give judges additional discretion.