Today, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and 16 of his colleagues reintroduced the Protect and Serve Act, legislation that would create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.
In 2020, more than 300 officers were shot in the line of duty and 47 officers were shot and killed, including North Carolina officers Ryan Hendrix, Tyler Herndon, and Jason Shuping. Additionally, more than 300 officers lost their lives to COVID-19.
In 2021, 14 officers have been killed by others in the line of duty, including Capitol Hill Police Officer Brian David Sicknick who was killed as a result of the attack against the U.S. Capitol.
Senator Hawley said, “Rising crime rates and months of riots in cities across the country have put America’s police force in danger not seen for decades. In Missouri, David Dorn, a retired police officer, was murdered by rioters while defending a friend’s store. Those who seek to harm or kill the brave men and women of law enforcement must face justice and I’m proud to work with my colleagues to ensure they do."
"Law enforcement officers in North Carolina and across the country are heroes who swear an oath to protect our communities, yet we are seeing an unacceptable rise in targeted attacks against the men and women in blue," said Senator Tillis. "Those who commit senseless acts of violence against LEOs must be held accountable for their actions, which is why I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that creates federal penalties for criminals who target law enforcement. They put their lives on the line to protect us, and we should do the work in Congress to protect them."
Introduced by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), the legislation is also co-sponsored by Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).
The Protect and Serve Act would support law enforcement officers by:
- Making it a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. Offenders are subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
- An offender could receive a life sentence if a death results from the offense, or the offense includes kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, or attempted murder.
This law would apply to federal law enforcement officers and would also apply to state and local officers in circumstances where the federal government can establish jurisdiction over the case.
The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association of the NYPD, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Sheriffs Association, and the Major County Sheriffs Association.
Read a one-pager of the legislation here.