The man who comforted a dying school librarian is working to keep the promise he made her

State News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In March of 2013, Bill Cregg was driving home a way he never took before.

To buy lottery tickets, instead of going in front of Great Northern Mall, he went behind it, using Verplank Road.

He passed where David Renz had just left, finding a girl who had been raped and a school librarian, Lori Bresnahan, stabbed and dying.

Cregg held Bresnahan as she died, promising her to protect the girl she was leaving behind and to make sure a similar crime never happened again.

In the six years since, Cregg has worked tirelessly to research where GPS monitoring ankle bracelets have failed across the United States and how to fix the system-wide failures.

Bill Cregg’s commitment is the inspiration for “Bill’s Promise Law,” which will be introduced by Congressman John Katko this week in the U.S. Capitol that aims to improve pre-trial release protections.

“Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Bill Cregg – a true hero, and tremendous advocate committed to making our community a safer place,” said Congressman John Katko. “Pre-trial release plays an important role in ensuring the efficiency of our nation’s justice system. When properly administered, pre-trial release programs help to address the significant resource and capacity restrictions facing our courts. Unfortunately, as our community knows all too well, failures in this system have the potential to endanger innocent lives.  I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Bill’s Promise Act, named in Bill Cregg’s honor, which will require a thorough review of our nation’s current laws surrounding monitoring practices for individuals on pre-trial release – including response protocols when an ankle monitor or other electronic monitoring device signals that an individual is violating the terms of their release.”

Specifically, Bill’s Promise Act directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to:

  • Review monitoring practices for pre-trial release programs at the federal, state and local levels.
  • Outline response protocols when an ankle monitor or other electronic monitoring device signals that an individual is violating the terms of their release.
  • Provide data on offenses committed by individuals on pre-trial release over the past 10 years.
  • Examine potential issues impacting officer retention and the administration of pre-trial release services.
  • Issue recommendations to improve the administration of pre-trial release services.

Katko says, even though the bill has to work through the House and Senate separately, he expects President Donald Trump to sign it into law without hesitation once it hits his desk.

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