I-Team 10 Follow Up: Group reaches deal with DOT

Posted at: 10/16/2013 6:05 PM
Updated at: 10/16/2013 6:19 PM
By: Brett Davidsen

A follow-up to an I-Team investigation. I-Team told you about efforts by a local group to honor fallen sheriff's deputies with memorial road signs, but they couldn't get the state on board with their plan. The group says after airing their frustrations publicly, the state offered to meet.

I-Team 10 received a lot of feedback from viewers who thought the New York State Department of Transportation was being rigid and insensitive. Apparently, that got through to Albany and the two sides hammered out a way to get the signs hung.

Sgt. Justin Collins, Badge of Honor, said, "I think we just really wanted dialog. I don't think they maliciously didn't want to help us. I just think we needed to have dialog and have conversations about exactly what we were trying to do."

Badge of Honor Association is trying to put up about a dozen signs as tributes to fallen sheriff's deputies, placing them at the location where they died. Several of those were along state roads. But in a letter, the Department of Transportation said “no”, citing its policy, which restricts the types of signs that can be displayed and must regulate or warn traffic.

But I-Team 10's original report, we noted lots of other types of signs, such as Adopt-a-Highway signs, that didn't seem to meet that threshold. So advocates for the fallen officers along with New York State Senator Joe Robach traveled to Albany Wednesday and met face-to-face with the Commissioner of the DOT. They emerged with a compromise.  Robach will sponsor legislation that will allow the Badge of Honor Association to place the signs on state roads. The DOT will then create the signs to their specifications for things like lettering size and color.

State Senator Joe Robach said, "To highlight these men and women that were lost makes all the sense in the world. This is just merging that to designate a certain part of the road with signage that's appropriate for the speed of that road and will allow for the designation with some uniformity."

Robach says he's been given assurances from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office that the legislation will be supported and quickly signed. The hope is the memorials to the fallen officers will appear along state roads sometime this spring.