Orange County News
For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek
March 20, 2023, 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler Responds to City of Newburgh Officials Regarding Reporting of Crime Statistics
Recorded press interview refutes City of Newburgh City Manager’s allegations that District Attorney Hoovler said City was incorrectly reporting crime statistics.
City Officials confuse District Attorney’s statements regarding promoting transparency to the public and the press with incorrect mandated crime statistical reporting.
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler responded to false statements made in a press release issued on March 20, 2023, from the City of Newburgh City Manager’s Office which touted a drop in violent crime purportedly as the result of a joint operation involving City of Newburgh Police, the FBI’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force and the New York State Police. That press release falsely alleged that, “Last week, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler advanced a baseless conspiracy theory fabricated by a News 12 television presenter that the City is falsifying crime and arrest data.” The false assertion is apparently referring to a March 15, 2023 news report by News 12 Hudson Valley reporter Blaise Gomez, which included an interview with District Attorney Hoovler. Contrary to the assertions by City of Newburgh officials, District Attorney Hoovler never alleged that the City of Newburgh was falsifying crime data. The District Attorney’s Office is in possession of, and has reviewed, the recorded interview with District Attorney Hoovler, as well as the written news story and what was broadcast in relation to the interview.
The News 12 report correctly quotes District Attorney Hoovler as saying that, “Newburgh officials stopped communicating about crime and investigations like they used to last year,” referencing a change in the City of Newburgh’s policy of issuing fewer press releases and responding less to press inquiries about violent crime. In neither the News 12 report, nor during the interviews with District Attorney Hoovler, is there any indication that he alleged that the City of Newburgh has failed to make mandated reports to the Division of Criminal Justice Services or to federal agencies, as stated in the City of Newburgh press release. A copy of District Attorney Hoovler’s recorded interview is available at the following links: https://youtu.be/NJDbIEINV1M and https://youtu.be/UUm0nHPEzdY .
The News 12 press report of March 15, 2023, does quote an unnamed “law enforcement source” as stating that, “There’s a lot more going on than people know… It’s all being done to make Todd Venning look like an accomplished City manager. Torrence Harvey doesn’t want any negative information getting out.” That statement, which was not made by, or attributed to District Attorney Hoovler, may also be referring to how the City is handling press policy, rather than commenting on how the City of Newburgh complies with mandated crime reporting requirements.
“I have long advocated for transparency in how law enforcement officials, and indeed all government officials, deal with inquiries from the public, including from the press, particularly on matters concerning public safety,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “I have personally been asked by City of Newburgh officials to cut down on press releases issued on crimes that originated in the City of Newburgh. I am therefore not surprised to hear from news reporters that the City of Newburgh under City Manager Venning is issuing fewer press releases on arrests and violent crimes than they did previously. My office has continued to issue press releases on significant events and crimes because it is important for the public to be aware of crime, and of the great work regularly being done by City of Newburgh Police Officers and other law enforcement agencies.”
District Attorney Hoovler also stated that, “While we wish to maintain a close and productive working relationship with the City of Newburgh Police, their current administration has often closed the doors to receiving more help, including removing a District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigator that we had imbedded in their Detective Bureau to aid in shooting cases. While it is the City’s prerogative to not accept aid, it is shortsighted. More importantly, it is reckless for City Manager Venning to make baseless allegations about what the District Attorney’s Office has said, particularly when the allegations are debunked by the very news report that they refer to. It is also distressing that the Police Commissioner would repeat such baseless allegations. I also believe that it is Mr. Venning’s duty to make sure that the City Council and Mayor have the correct information before making allegations that are easy to verify.”