‘Reimagining’ bail reform: Some police chiefs saying it needs closer look after Harloff arrest

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Canandaigua Police released a statement on new charges for Sean Harloff, and it’s causing some area law enforcement to sound the alarm — again — on bail reform.

The police chiefs in Irondequoit and Canandaigua who both dealt with arresting Sean Harloff say cases like that prove lawmakers need to ‘re-imagine’ bail reform. They say bail reform isn’t all bad but might need another look by leaders.

On July 8th, Harloff was captured by Irondequoit Police after allegedly stealing a car and leading police on a chase under the influence. He was let go with an appearance ticket. Last week, the Canandaigua Police arrested Harloff for allegedly burglarizing a residence, stealing a vehicle, and fleeing the scene.

Canandaigua Police Chief Mathew Nielson says someone caught for a crime going free after an appearance ticket, can lead to more trouble. “Essentially they get 2,3,4 arrests and then they have to deal with that later court and that’s when they’ll feel the penalty from that and it’s stacked up a lot worse in their favor,” he says.

Neilson saying that’s exactly what happened with Sean Harloff. “They’re…only at times getting themselves more and more buried.”

After his arrest by Canandaigua Police, Harloff was arraigned at Ontario County Court and transported back to Monroe County Jail where he is now being held without bail.

Both the Irondequoit and Canandaigua Police Chiefs say there are some who need a cooling-off period to help correct behavior. Jail they say doesn’t always mean just sitting in a cell.

“There are rehabilitation programs, there’s counseling. Drug and alcohol counseling, mental health counseling,” says Chief Alan Laird with the Irondequoit Police.

“People in jail, they’re given treatment options and things,” says Neilson.

Not all bail reform is bad, they say. Nielson says it needs some fine-tuning. “Give the judges the chance to evaluate every individual situation there.”

Lt. Gov Kathy Hochul in town Thursday saying the spike in violent crime and general disorder is not the result of bail reform. 

“I will challenge you on that any time, anywhere. That does not explain the increase in gun violence in Chicago, in Washington, D.C. where my children live, or anywhere else. This is an outcome of the tension in society,” says Hochul.

News 8’s Ally Peters filed a report earlier this month with criminal justice experts saying bail reform isn’t totally to blame for the current surge in crime across the state. You can find that story here.

Full press release from Canandaigua Police on Sean Harloff:

On July 15th, 2021, at approximately 07:15 AM, The City of Canandaigua Police Department, arrested 31-year-old Sean M. Harloff, of the Town Farmington, NY for one count of Burglary in the Second Degree and one count of Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree. It is alleged that on July 6th, 2021 at or about 07:15am Harloff burglarized a residence within the City of Canandaigua, stole a vehicle parked inside the garage, then fled the scene when confronted by the homeowner. After an extensive multi-agency police investigation from police agencies in Ontario County, Monroe County and Genesee County, Harloff was located and arrested in Monroe County for committing several similar crimes in those jurisdictions as well. Harloff was arraigned at Ontario County Court and transported back to Monroe County Jail where he is already being held without bail. Additional charges are pending.

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